Beautiful covers and judging books by them (+ giveaway winner!)

First up, I need to announce the contest winners from last week’s PARISIAN GIVEAWAY.

The lucky winner of Anna and the French Kiss and a small (don’t expect much!) Parisian souvenir is:

♥ Erica! ♥

Email me your snail-mail address, Madame, and I shall send you this petit gift right away! (My email is susan (at) susandennard (d0t) com)

And noooow, onto today’s post!

Judging Books By Their Covers

We all do it.

You know you do too.

I’m not talking about figurative judging–I mean literally evaluating if we want a book based on the cover art.

Yep, I TOTALLY judge a book by its cover.

In fact, the only reason I ever pick up books that haven’t been recommended to me is if the artwork on the front jumps out and snags my eye.

And trust me: publishers know this. They put a lot of time, money, and effort into craft a cover that will sell copies.

I had an interesting conversation once with my agents about this very topic. We talked about the plight of a debut author: we have a pretty limited say in what goes on our cover. The artwork is VERY much based on the marketing and design teams. They want to craft a cover that will get your average B&N customer to pick up an unknown name’s book in the store.

It kinda sucks for the writer, no? And YET, while we authors may moan and groan about it, the simple fact is that having limited say is 100% in OUR BEST INTEREST.

Why? Because like I said before, we all judge books by their covers, publishers know this, and they have a lot of experience designing artwork that appeals to the target audience.

Heck, I can name quite a few upcoming titles that I want based only on the cover…

Some Beautiful YA Covers

YA covers have to be eye-catching in a cross-over way–meaning they have to appeal to adults and teens. The girls on the front are typically aged up (so they are closer to 20s than actual teens) because teenager and kids like to read about older characters. I know I did growing up. At the same time, older readers don’t feel like they’re reading down.

Another thing common these days is the “glamour effect.” Basically, a stunning, glamorous dress will draw attention and imply a certain feel for what’s inside the book.

These days, YA paranormal has a lot of mystical, ethereal glamor to it, and so we see that on the covers.

Even the cover for Something Strange and Deadly falls into these “tropes”–but I trust my publisher to know what’s best for my book. (And no, I can’t share the cover yet, but I will soon!! EEE!)

Honestly, I wish this were my cover! This is so how I picture A Darkness Strange and Lovely.

Wow…just WOW. Look at the way the flower petals morph into the shattering dress. Stunning.

This girl’s stare tells me she’s up to something, and by golly, I want to know WHAT! And, moan, look at the curly-ques on the title–I love it!!

This has such a unique feel to it! It is not a paranormal, but a dystopian/post-apocalyptic. It feels very much like an epic cover from the 70s & 80s–which is of course, the stuff I grew up reading!

Some Beautiful MG Covers

Middle grade covers have a different goal–a different target audience. They want kids, 8 years to 12, to be pulled in. The story is hinted at or downright displayed in both the title and cover art, and the feel of the cover reflects the feel of the story. A funny cover will offer a funny book, while a mysterious cover will offer a mysterious book.

This just looks SO FUN. An alligator-suited dude (or…I think it’s someone in a suit) chasing kids that appear to have stolen something…all on top of Scrabble letters? Yes, YES, I do want to read this.

The title alone gets me on this one. Growing up, my grandfather would always play Twenty Questions with my brother, sister, and me. The first question he always asked was, “Person, place or thing?”

If the answer was “thing”, then question #2 was always, “Is it bigger than a bread box?”

Considering I had no idea what a bread box was (I’m still not sure I’ve ever seen one in person), I always found this the oddest starting point for measuring an object’s size…

And YET, here is that same phrase on this cover (proving that I’m just an ignorant idiot) coupled with an incredibly intriguing picture. Look at her eyes! She’s looking at something, and by golly, I want to know what!

This cover just has an EPIC feel to it. I love that we see a vial that ties to the “apothecary” in the title…and then we see a city and birds in that bottle–which totally suggests mystery and fantasy afoot.

This image is downright stunning. The colors, the snow, the wolves (or…dogs?) in the woods, and the very CLEAR hint at the story within: a girl is going on a dangerous journey. I can’t wait for this book to come out!

There are WAY more books I want to get my hands on. September and October are overflowing with new titles–YAAAY!–and most of them have some pretty amazing cover art.

You tell me: what eye-catching covers have you seen lately?