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The Three Hoarsemen (Episode 22) – Telling a Book by its Cover with Irene Gallo

As the heat builds, and clouds of pollen choke the skies, John E. O. Stevens, Fred Kiesche and Jeff Patterson find themselves of a mood to stare at the pretty pictures gracing the jackets and e-files of books and ponder how they came to be. To that end they have hobbled across the simmering landscape to seek out Irene Gallo, art director at Tor Books and, to enlighten them on the process.

The discussion encompasses the relationship between book and cover, deadlines, fan feedback, and the aesthetics of different decades. Will we ever see embossed covers come back? And what does it take for a cover to impress John?

Irene also talks about her participation in the Illustration Master Class, and everyone recounts the culture they have recently consumed.

Run time: 1 hour 18 minutes.

  1. The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
  2. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
  3. The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker
  1. Space is Just a Starry Night by Tanith Lee
  2. Nemesis Games by James S.A.Corey
  3. Fire with Fire by Charles Gannon
  1. Sisters of the Revolution edited by Ann VanderMeer & Jeff VanderMeer
  2. Ray Bradbury (Modern Masters of Science Fiction) by David Seed
  3. B.P.R.D.–A Plague of Frogs by Mike Mignola & Guy Davis


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5 Comments on The Three Hoarsemen (Episode 22) – Telling a Book by its Cover with Irene Gallo

  1. Thanks for devoting your show to the subject of art and book covers, guys. It’s a subject dear to my heart and visual experience. Irene gave a very insightful tour behind what goes into getting the right balance and “hook,” and how Tor Books goes about the process of choosing the right cover. An almost symbiotic relationship geared towards readers merging the story within the print and first impressions of the eye-catching cover.
    Big fan of the James S A Corey novels and love the artwork on each one. So looking forward to when ‘Nemesis Games’ gets down here to New Zealand and on the shelf. These covers with the vivid colours really stand out surrounded by other SF books.

    Good show and very interesting! Also downloading to listen in the car. Will you also include episodes on iTunes podcasts so we it can upload automatically?

    Auckland, New Zealand

  2. Jeff Patterson // May 29, 2015 at 4:04 pm //

    iTunes has been a thorn in our side since the start. Long story, but don’t know if it will ever happen.

  3. We’d love to get on iTunes. iTunes does not love us. So far, they haven’t helped. Maybe something about being the biggest company in the world vs. the tiniest podcast in the world?

  4. June Young // June 15, 2015 at 6:14 am //

    Thank-you for doing this very informative podcast about cover art.

    I am just a consumer but I do appreciate a good cover especially if it properly reflects the content of the book. A good cover is what makes a customer take a closer look at the book, pick it up and read the blurb (or in this age, click on the link).

    I was very surprised to see had art work with its stories when I first started going to this site, but they do complement the stories very well. The art work adds value to the reader experience, in my opinion. It was good to hear how this all got started.

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