Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Go ahead...judge a book by its cover (Page 1)

  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   
Author Topic: Go ahead...judge a book by its cover
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I was just wondering what you like to see on a book cover. What kind of artwork makes you want to read more?

No, I'm not asking entirely randomly, but before I get into specifics about what might look good on my own book cover, I thought I'd ask more generally what you like to see.


Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hygge
Member
Member # 3313

 - posted      Profile for Hygge   Email Hygge         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Interesting question-I was able to attend a pre-public library book sale yesterday and my time was limited (all paperbacks $1, all hard covers $2). They had thousands of books and there was no way to see them all. I quickly scanned the SF section and noticed almost every book was black, or at least dark. It was very hard to distinguish one book from the other. Nothing grabbed my attention and it was a rare moment when money wasn’t an option and I could get anything I wanted.

Myself I like simple artwork, Crighton comes to mind. But then again, maybe he can get away with it because of the name. Too much of the artwork looks the same and so it blends in with everything else. Just some random thoughts.


Posts: 43 | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Silver3
Member
Member # 2174

 - posted      Profile for Silver3   Email Silver3         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like sober. Certain kinds of artwork also turn me off, like things that look too much like D&D rolebook covers.
Posts: 1075 | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
pantros
Member
Member # 3237

 - posted      Profile for pantros   Email pantros         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If it looks like the artist that does Robert Jordan's covers, no.

If it looks like a group of adventurers with a wizard, a knight, a cleric and a dwarf, no.

Classic Franzetta/Valejo style scene art is also a no. But, figures from that style imposed over a contemporary cover style are okay.

If the Author's name is two inches tall and the title is a 1/4 inch text across the bottom, no.

If the cover has a sunset, no.

A cover with two characters on it probably. I can usually get a sense of the genre and subgenre from the cover. Are there dragons? Magic? Robots? Spaceships? All this is answered on the cover art.



Posts: 370 | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Susannaj4
Member
Member # 3189

 - posted      Profile for Susannaj4   Email Susannaj4         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree with Pantros.
Posts: 341 | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Calligrapher
Member
Member # 2985

 - posted      Profile for Calligrapher   Email Calligrapher         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The best selling wine comes with labels that have critters on them. The taste is secondary. Maybe sci-fi critters on your book cover?
Posts: 136 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Avatar300
Member
Member # 1655

 - posted      Profile for Avatar300           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I can't really say how often a cover has persuaded me to buy or not buy a book, but generally I prefer covers that show a setting from the book without depicting any characters.
Posts: 78 | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ok, so we have characters from the book...no characters from the book...

No worry about cliched fantasy things...the book is contemporary fantasy...or magical realism if you prefer.

As for critters...my husband told me to put a dragon on the cover. When I explained that there were no dragons in the book he said he bought books with dragons on the cover or even in the title that did not have dragons in the book so he didn't see what that had to do with anything.

There's a cat...but he's a pretty minor character.

Let me ask some more directed things.

1. I assume that covers that lie (promise something the book doesn't deliver) while they may make you buy the book, will also make you hat eit.

2. Do you prefer simple or complex images? Abstract or concrete? What about images overlaid on top of other imagse? Do you like to see scenes from the book depicted on the cover (this is something I'm thinking of doing)?

Thanks for the advice, although a lot of what you're saying basically boils down to: "If the cover is for a genre i don't like to read, I won't read it." Let's assume the book is a genre you like to read.


Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
sholar
Member
Member # 3280

 - posted      Profile for sholar   Email sholar         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I want the cover of a book to be something I am not ashamed to be seen in public with. Though, interestingly, the one romance novel I have ever read (a gift when I had surgery) had no images at all on the cover and the title was pretty vague and so was less embarassing than some of the scifi books I read.
Posts: 303 | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
mommiller
Member
Member # 3285

 - posted      Profile for mommiller   Email mommiller         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The simpler the better. And, for some reason, pastels make me think of Romance whether it is a part of the story or not.

I thought the original covers for Garth Nix's Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen were perfect. Sabriel sold me on the cover alone, of course the book didn't disappoint. I thought the newer, plainer, more "Adult," version which they did so us grown-ups wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen carting it around, a disappointment and would not have attracted me to the series at all.

I think that the U.K. releases of novels generally have more attractive covers than their American counterparts. Harry Potter being a prime example.

Just my 2 cents.


Posts: 306 | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Survivor
Member
Member # 213

 - posted      Profile for Survivor   Email Survivor         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm with sholar, no nudity unless it's clearly very tasteful and artistic. Satanic imagery isn't usually a plus either. Other than that, I like it if the cover art has something to do with the text, but I don't really care that much as a reader, that's just so that people who shop by visual rather than literary impact can have a chance.
Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
phoenix24
New Member
Member # 3339

 - posted      Profile for phoenix24   Email phoenix24         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Personally, the cover is just a taster for me. i'll take a glance, see if it looks like it deals with fantasy or sci-fi and then go to the back cover and see what the book is about. i've read a couple books that i really wasn't thrilled about the cover art, but after reading the blurb i was hooked! but i know that a lot of people go by art, so take this opinion with a grain of salt.
Posts: 7 | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Susannaj4
Member
Member # 3189

 - posted      Profile for Susannaj4   Email Susannaj4         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like things I have to think about. I don't like girls standing in the wind as it blows their hair about their face. I don't like muscular men with some weapon in hand on the cover. And most of those cover types have them standing on some cliff. What do you envision for the cover? I have had something in mind for my cover since I wrote my novel(now if I could just get the darn thing published) .
Posts: 341 | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ray
Member
Member # 2415

 - posted      Profile for Ray   Email Ray         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like covers that are either spare or heavily decorated. Now, if you go for a spare cover, you need to have one symbol that stands out on it; think of the hawk on Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell or the American Flag on Executive Orders. These symbols on an otherwise empty cover are powerful and demand your attention.

If you're going for a designed cover, go all out. Say what you will about the U.S. version of Harry Potter, but I love the covers. When I see elaborate, beautiful art put all around the book, it tells me the artist thought the story was worth his/her time to make it appealing, and hence, I'm interested.

What does bug me are the covers with a picture on the front, but it's surrounded by a single color, like a picture frame. Only this color is the background when I'm reading the summary on the back. This doesn't always stop me from buying the book, but I usually do it with some qualms. Of course, this is just a personal thing.


Posts: 329 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm with phoenix - I pay more attention to the back of the book blurb too (which I may be posting on F&F later for help ).

I have a couple of thoughts, basd on scenes from the book. (Assume these are well drawn. I, fortunatley and unfortunatley, have nothing to do with that.)

1. A ransacked office with papers strewn everywhere. One paper, prominently visible, says "I'M GOING TO DIE!" in all caps.

2. This is a symbolic one: A book of prohpecy set on fire with blood kind of oozing down over the whole thing. (The danger here is that others won't understand the symbolism I envision. None of these literally appear in the book.)

I'm still working on others...just throwing out some thoughts.


Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Leaf II
Member
Member # 2924

 - posted      Profile for Leaf II   Email Leaf II         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Covers are important... REALLY important. Too many of them are stupid... as you guys have already covered.

I would have to say, my most current absolute favorite book is one that isn't even released yet, but see if you can get a glimpse from somewhere online of the new Terry Goodkind book, Phantom.

In my opinion this is everything a cover should be... but that's just me.

What do you guys think?

It's very sad that the artist has passed away sometime last year. I had high hopes of (someday) getting a book published and demanding and pleading and praying that I could get him to do the cover art.

*sigh.

oh well. Sad sad days..

-leaf

edit: http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0765305240.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

I mean the artwork, not the letters.. i dont care about that either way...

[This message has been edited by Leaf II (edited April 06, 2006).]


Posts: 147 | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Silver3
Member
Member # 2174

 - posted      Profile for Silver3   Email Silver3         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Christine: 1 does evoke suspense stories, but would make me assume this is going to be a straight mystery (ie no paranormal). 2 has a danger of being melodramatically done (I know you'll have no say over this...) but would hook me more. I'd be a little worried the book would turn out to be horror, though.
Posts: 1075 | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aalanya
Member
Member # 3263

 - posted      Profile for Aalanya   Email Aalanya         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Something simple is usually good for me. I generally don't like characters on the covers, but there are exceptions.

Both your ideas sound interesting.


Posts: 132 | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Leigh
Member
Member # 2901

 - posted      Profile for Leigh   Email Leigh         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't usually see the covers until I have read the blurb. By then I usually like the story, the genre and setting. Though at times I do like the imagery I get from viewing the coverart.

What I would go for is simple, elegant carwork showing what the genre of the book is.

Lately when I've browsed through the new release section at my local bookstores all I see is the large printed names of the authors, the smaller title of the novel and a fallen down rose, broken glass or a skull on any book. That is a big turn away for me.


Posts: 384 | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jeraliey
Member
Member # 2147

 - posted      Profile for Jeraliey   Email Jeraliey         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm in the "simple cover with powerful image" camp. I liked the cover for Jonathan Norrell. (I don't know...it just looked CLASSY) My favorite book cover concept is the one for the Hitchhiker's Guide series...you know, the green smiley-face blowing a raspberry? He basically showed what I was getting into. Although I have often wondered what he had to do with anything in the book....

Basically, I love simple, symbolic images that tell me SOMETHING about the book, but not everything. I love discovering what relation the image has with the story. That could be one more interesting question that draws your reader on through the story: "Why is the book on the cover BLEEDING?"

I think if you had a simple cover depicting a book on fire, that would be a really mind-catching image. You wouldn't even have to write "Book of Prophesy" on the cover (and PLEASE don't! ); you can get to that kind of thing in the book. Just be careful that the image isn't too complex...you don't want people staring at the cover trying to figure out what each part of the symbol means; you want people reading your book.


Posts: 1041 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
pjp
Member
Member # 3211

 - posted      Profile for pjp   Email pjp         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't put too much stock into the covers. Usually I don't care for the artists rendition of the characters, but by the time I have an image in my mind, the cover art is irrelevant.

As for what attracts my eye, it varies. For reference, see British and American Cover Art: How and why they're different.

My preference, in order of appearance:
Wurts / Traitor's Knot: UK
Niven / Ringworld's Children: UK
Donaldson / Runes of The Earth: UK
Clarke / Strange & Norrell: US
Stross / Accelerando: Don't really like either, but forced to pick, UK.
Jordan / Knife of Dreams: UK

I think the last time I went through the list, I had 1 or 2 more US in there. Perhaps with Donaldson and Niven.

I've often wanted to have a book published in black, with no writing on the cover whatsoever.

EDIT:

quote:
1. I assume that covers that lie (promise something the book doesn't deliver) while they may make you buy the book, will also make you hat eit.

2. Do you prefer simple or complex images? Abstract or concrete? What about images overlaid on top of other imagse? Do you like to see scenes from the book depicted on the cover (this is something I'm thinking of doing)?


1: This would definitely make me think longer about reading another book by the same author. If the story was good enough, I'd probably overlook it, but not if it was in the next book too.

2: Simple/complex is probably a tossup, as long as it seems relevant to whatever summaries are presented. Abstract would probably not do much for me, unless it appeared linked to the story somehow. Layered images in the form of scenery would probably be fine. Scenes from the book are fine too.

quote:
1. A ransacked office with papers strewn everywhere. One paper, prominently visible, says "I'M GOING TO DIE!" in all caps.

2. This is a symbolic one: A book of prohpecy set on fire with blood kind of oozing down over the whole thing. (The danger here is that others won't understand the symbolism I envision. None of these literally appear in the book.)


1: The "I'M GOING TO DIE!" part would probably get me to put it back on the shelf. Just seems a little too desperate, and or cheesy for me.

2: I like the sound of it, but you might risk some thinking it's more horror. Maybe if the book isn't in a setting (office), it wouldn't seem like it was a bait and switch (#1 from 1st quote). Presented like this, if I didn't read about a bleeding, flaming book, I'd probably wonder why it was used, but it probably wouldn't impact future sales.

[This message has been edited by pjp (edited April 07, 2006).]


Posts: 160 | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
If it looks like the artist that does Robert Jordan's covers, no.

Darrell Sweet does the Jordan covers, doesn't he? I am not a fan of Darrell Sweet and have never read Robert Jordan's books partly because Sweet was the cover artist.

In fact, there are lots of books with his work on the cover that I haven't been able to bring myself to read. Those that I have read, I've read because my trust in the contents of the book overcame the cover artwork.

I have had nightmares in which I've sold a novel and found out he had been selected to do the cover. <shudder>


Posts: 7805 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DeepDreamer
Member
Member # 5337

 - posted      Profile for DeepDreamer   Email DeepDreamer         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I must admit, I judge books more based on their blurbs than on their covers. Half the time I don't pay any attention to the covers if they're any good. Now if a cover is really bad...like the Animorphs series, for instance...blegh. You cannot possibly get any worse than the cheesy model-morphing-into-animal covers. In fact, that's the reason why I didn't read them until high school, when I was already much too old to be regarded as a sane fan...

I like more abstract coverart than scene depictions, myself. I'd rather not have any preformed images of the characters in my head; I'd rather see the landscape through my own lens, not an artist's; and half the time the scenes aren't recognizable in the book anyway.

I've only bought two books based solely on their cover images, and neither turned out to be good reads. In fact one of them, Ceres Storm, was one of the worst books I've ever read. The cover depicts a leather-clad boy floating in a chair, attended by four priests. Or at least that was what I assumed the picture was. This image turned out not to be written about in the book at all, that I could recognize. But I still like the image somehow.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, aren't eyecatching images in the mind of the would-be buyer?


Posts: 34 | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
arriki
Member
Member # 3079

 - posted      Profile for arriki   Email arriki         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I once bought a book strictly for its cover. It was THE ROAD TO CORLAY by someone. The story was horrible. Boring. I never got past the first couple of chapters. But the cover...oh, my! It had a scene on it that was -- to borrow CS Lewis' term -- numinous.

Absolutely compelling. It spoke.

I like covers that do that. That speak to me. That arouse feelings in me. Sometimes that can be an illustration (hopefully) from the book. Sometimes it is symbolic. The doughnut on the cover of COMPANY by ?, a doughnut with a nibble taken out it -- that worked for me. I picked the book up, sampled the first page, the blurb and bought it.


Posts: 1559 | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What do you think about putting words on the cover? I was just going through amazon.com, looking at some covers and saw this one by Kean Koontz:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553804790/sr=8-1/qid=1144417473/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-0139363-7375175?%5Fencoding=UTF8

In this case, the speciic words make it sound like a typical kidnapping story, which doesn't interest me, but if it had been something else then maybe the words, along with the simplicity of the blood red cover and the gold ring, would have been a great hook to read further.

Along that line, I thought of a third option for a cover:

3. The words "Futures can't be chanced." and a fancy clock. Probably a red background a bit like the Koontz book to get people thinking of blood and death, but no actual blood.


Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oh yeah, and thanks for the article on british/American cover art. Although, with the exception of the Robert Jordan book, which looked MUCH better in the UK, I liked our US artwork better.
Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
wbriggs
Member
Member # 2267

 - posted      Profile for wbriggs   Email wbriggs         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Really, it just varies too much by genre.

I don't read much fantasy, and I don't *find* much modern fantasy. When I was more into fantasy I could deal with florid covers like

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0441627404/sr=8-1/qid=1144420176/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-8758487-7647229?%5Fencoding=UTF8
http://www.usedbookattic.com/images/product/Thumbnails/123032.jpg

I haven't read Magic Street, but I thought the cover was arresting.

http://www.hatrack.com/osc/books/magicstreet/covers/US.jpg

If something is too look classic, a simpler cover is cool

http://www.usedbookattic.com/images/product/Thumbnails/134581.jpg

Pretty sometimes works (although I hated this book, I did buy it first!)
http://www.usedbookattic.com/images/product/Thumbnails/133433.jpg

Thing is, it just depends on the book.

Anyway: are they going to let you ahve a say in it? IIRC that's unconventional.


Posts: 2830 | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
wbriggs
Member
Member # 2267

 - posted      Profile for wbriggs   Email wbriggs         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oh, and that Koontz cover: that is *great*.
Posts: 2830 | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In the end, I'm not sure exactly how much say I'm going to have. I asked her if I was going to have a say and she responded by asking what I'd like to see on the cover. The truth is, I may just respond by giving her some ideas of what I would not like to see ... my name bigger than the title, for instance. (I think we can all agree on that one! ) I also prefer covers without random people on them because they are inevitably meaningless until I have read the book. Sometimes a face can show something, but I would generally have to agree that I didn't like the Robert Jordan covers, for example. Then again, since my book has nothing to do with high fantasy, those sorts of covers aren't on the table. (Or if they are, I got an inept artist.) I kind of like simple in terms of uncluttered but at the same time I like slightly abstract, symbolic, or at least something that could have multiple meanings. I like it when I look at a cover before I read the book and after I read the book and have two different impressions of it.
Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
autumnmuse
Member
Member # 2136

 - posted      Profile for autumnmuse   Email autumnmuse         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Christine, that last paragraph you posted sounds pretty informative to me. Why not tell that exact information to the publisher?
Posts: 818 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Garp
Member
Member # 2919

 - posted      Profile for Garp           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've been thinking about this before I posted anything, and I have two comments.

First, I don't care what the cover of a book looks like. It doesn't sway me one bit. I tried to think of something other than this, but I can't. It seems, however, that I'm a rarity here. I'd never not read a book because I didn't like the cover.

Second, though a cover doesn't sway me, there are some books I wouldn't take into public because of the covers. Look at the recent covers of Richard Matheson's HELL HOUSE and I AM LEGEND. Or the old Del Ray covers on the H. P. Lovecraft collections. I like very much, but I'm not going to be reading any of those books on the bus or at the doctor's office.


Posts: 50 | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
pjp
Member
Member # 3211

 - posted      Profile for pjp   Email pjp         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Unless I'm seeing the wrong covers, I don't see the problem.
Posts: 160 | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
wbriggs
Member
Member # 2267

 - posted      Profile for wbriggs   Email wbriggs         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I read Trullion, by Jack Vance, a culture novel. It involved sport, land disputes, and military service. On the cover was a beautiful young woman, stark naked, walking toward the viewer while a monster prepared to leap at her. She didn't appear anywhere in the novel.

My boss said, Oh, well, Will's taken to reading pornography.

[This message has been edited by wbriggs (edited April 07, 2006).]


Posts: 2830 | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I remember one cover for a book in that series by Vance---I don't remember which title, and my pile of Jack Vance books are behind a pile of boxes and inaccessible for the moment. Anyway, the artwork for the book illustrated a uniform for some game, where a woman would stand wearing this outfit---a small amount of fabric (a lot of skin was shown, apparently) held in place by a big brass ring over the navel. Opposing sides would fight, to get close enough to grab the big brass ring and pull the outfit off the woman.

Well, it seeme like your typical lurid SF pulp cover. But then, a few years ago, I saw J. Lo wear that very same outfit, as illustrated, to the Oscars...life imitates art, I suppose...


Posts: 7981 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
wbriggs
Member
Member # 2267

 - posted      Profile for wbriggs   Email wbriggs         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The sport was "hussade," which figured prominently in that same novel.
Posts: 2830 | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
sholar
Member
Member # 3280

 - posted      Profile for sholar   Email sholar         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Only book I can think of that had pretty coverart that led me to read the blurb and purchase would be Tales of the Otori. There are three- red, blue and yellow (though dark earthy versions) and have symbols on them- like a sword and a bird. When I looked on amazon, they released them in paperback and I doubt I would have looked at the books with their new art (pictures of people with a scroll thing saying tales of the otori). The art isn't what bothers me the most- it is the scroll. It just doesn't seem to fit properly with the artwork. And I like the less concrete images and style of the hardback.
Posts: 303 | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Smaug
Member
Member # 2807

 - posted      Profile for Smaug   Email Smaug         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'd like a cover that showed Fabio getting attacked by a werewolf from behind.
Posts: 433 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Survivor
Member
Member # 213

 - posted      Profile for Survivor   Email Survivor         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I...maybe it's just me, but could you clarify why and in what manner you'd like him to be attacked from behind by this werewolf? I may have something a little wrong with my perceptual filter, but...clarify, please.
Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Quizzical
Member
Member # 2552

 - posted      Profile for Quizzical           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Not too long ago, I sat through the British Book Awards and played a little game with myself where I awarded books prizes by their cover art (I’m that shallow).
The two I particularly remember were:
Labyrinth by Kate Moss
And
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (this book I’ve read and admit rather loved)

So my inexpert opinion is:
a) No pictures of characters please, unless they are sufficiently shadowy and vague (see The Shadow of the Wind for example). Though this does not necessarily stop me from buying a book, I feel distracted by them. Sorry but true.
b) Simplicity, for example the fabulous “Noughts and Crosses” by Malorie Blackman.
c) In agreement with others, I don’t want to be embarrassed to be seen reading this book.
d) Lastly, what you yourself wrote about understanding covers better once the book has been read, is true. I love that feeling.

Quiz

[This message has been edited by Quizzical (edited April 12, 2006).]


Posts: 14 | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Let me share a more recent "book by its cover example." I'd rather not name names (I don't remember them, offhand, and the book is in a pile of mostly-read books in the other room), but the book had a lovely cover of an attractive centaur girl. I'd been seeing it for several months in a bookstore I frequent, and finally broke down and bought a copy. But I couldn't actually get past the first few chapters. (Also it was Book Two of a series, and I hate coming into a book series in the middle.)

The cover got me in, fulfilling the financial end of things, I suppose. But I didn't stay in.


Posts: 7981 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just wanted to thank everyone for their input and let you know that I decided not to dictate what would appear on the cover. Instead, I used some of the ideas here and a couple of my own to give some impression of my likes/dislikes when it comes to cover art. Now it is out of my hands and i will just have to hope.


Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Smaug
Member
Member # 2807

 - posted      Profile for Smaug   Email Smaug         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I...maybe it's just me, but could you clarify why and in what manner you'd like him to be attacked from behind by this werewolf? I may have something a little wrong with my perceptual filter, but...clarify, please.

Well, actually, I was just trying to poke fun at the romance book covers and get a laugh. But what I meant was---I'm just assuming you've seen the covers I'm talking about---that when Fabio or whomever else is depicted on such covers is gazing deeply into the eyes of his latest lover, a hairy paw is reaching over his shoulder, about ready to drag him to who knows where.
I think that would add a bit of suspense to those covers. Consequently, the book that would be written to match the cover, would be a lot more up my line.

My favorite covers have something suspenseful on them--a cowboy who looks like he's about to get shot at---a monster lurking in the trees---glowing eyes of a creepy cat---that kind of thing.

[This message has been edited by Smaug (edited April 12, 2006).]


Posts: 433 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Survivor
Member
Member # 213

 - posted      Profile for Survivor   Email Survivor         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oh, okay then. Doesn't make any sense to me, but neither did what you seemed to be suggesting.
Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Smaug
Member
Member # 2807

 - posted      Profile for Smaug   Email Smaug         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Oh, okay then. Doesn't make any sense to me, but neither did what you seemed to be suggesting.

Okay, Survivor. You've got me intrigued. What did you think I "seemed to be suggesting"?


Posts: 433 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Y'know, I thought the cover design for "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell," which I have to hand and swear I'll actually read it one of these days, reminded me of the design for Thomas Pynchon's "Mason & Dixon" of a few years before...I doubt it was original even to that book, though...

(Oh, yeah. "arriki": "The Road to Corlay" was by Richard Cowper...maybe you saw the Don Maitz cover, which certainly was compelling, though that's kinda old now...)


Posts: 7981 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Survivor
Member
Member # 213

 - posted      Profile for Survivor   Email Survivor         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't want to know what I thought you were suggesting, so on the off chance that I forget, I certainly don't want to to be able to tell me. So I'll just pretend that I was being all Socratic and asking whatever questions came to mind.
Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Smaug
Member
Member # 2807

 - posted      Profile for Smaug   Email Smaug         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Umm. Okay.
Posts: 433 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
franc li
Member
Member # 3850

 - posted      Profile for franc li   Email franc li         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Then there's the whole psychology of fonts. Can't say what I'd prefer in a particular instance. Though there is a salon near my house called "Final Touches." It's in one of those New York 40's, possibly Art Deco fonts. But the main issue is that the F and I are a bit close in a way that resembles the A. Not good. Though it did get my attention.
Posts: 366 | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
hoptoad
Member
Member # 2145

 - posted      Profile for hoptoad   Email hoptoad         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'd suggest that you treat the cover-content the way you would the first thirteen lines. The same considerations are relevent here.

The style of illustrator will really (REALLY) send a message to the reader. It is like POV, it tells you a little about the lens through which we will be viewing your world.

It is subjective but can be broadly categorised the way genres can be. Think about how specific your story is to your genre and that will tell you how much wiggle room you have. I prefer simple but clever designs. I often dislike covers that try to portray the main characters, especially in a Brothers Hildebrandt way.
Just me.


As to the psychology of fonts, (as Franc Li called it) that is an important consideration too. Make sure all the elements support the story and its intended 'mood'. Here's the trick though, sometimes it is better to choose a powerful illustration and keep the font relatively plain; let the image speak. At other times, as with an esoteric or clever title, it may be best to let the typography take a front seat and have some clever visual foil happening.

[This message has been edited by hoptoad (edited April 26, 2006).]


Posts: 1678 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Inkwell
Member
Member # 1944

 - posted      Profile for Inkwell   Email Inkwell         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
That's one of my problems with science fiction novels...they tend to have odd (cheesy) representations of book content with shiny, protruding title text...which frequently looks like a bastardized Star Trek font.

Not sure if anyone has picked up a book called 'Voice of the Martyrs,' endorsed by the Christian band D.C. Talk (it came out a number of years ago, I think). It's bound in laminated psuedo-leather, with graphics that made the cover look like it was worn and had been burned at some point. The pages were raggedly arranged for an uneven edge effect (which was annoying when I tried to find a specific page, though it really added to the 'ancient tome' look).

It was interesting enough to catch my eye at a yard sale...I bought the book simply because of the cover (and because the seller only wanted a dollar for it).


Inkwell
-----------------
"The difference between a writer and someone who says they want to write is merely the width of a postage stamp."
-Anonymous


Posts: 366 | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2