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?
September 19, 2011 @ 12:42 pm
Oh yeah, I totally judge books based on their covers. And I’ve bought several books based on covers alone. Sometimes this works out, other times … not so much. I get that the glamour girl thing is here to stay, so mostly I love covers that still fall within that characterization but are DIFFERENT. Something that makes me pause and take note. Something like the Imaginary Girls cover (which I think might be my favorite cover ever) or the Wither cover from several months ago (which turned out to be a ‘not so much’ book for me, but I still love that cover).
I really can’t wait to see the SS&D cover! So exciting!!
September 20, 2011 @ 7:38 am
Yeah, the IMAGINARY GIRLS cover is ridiculously awesome. It’s kinda creepy, but mostly just stunning. Definitely different, and definitely take-pause.
(I also got WITHER based on the cover art, and…it was good, but not for me. :))
September 19, 2011 @ 2:53 pm
Yep, I’ll admit to judging books by their covers. A tempting cover will guarantee I’ll pick it up and give it a chance.
And I cannot WAIT to see SS&D’s cover!!!! Eek!
September 20, 2011 @ 7:39 am
Eek! is right! Although it’s not the kind of cover I’d probably go for in a store (only because I’m NOT a glamour-girl-cover-nabber), I do think peeps will like it. 😀 And I trust my design team!!
September 19, 2011 @ 5:03 pm
Of course I judge books by their covers. No point to lying on that one. Pretty cover (especially if it’s shiny…) will definitely make me pick up a book. Heck, I think the gloss on the cover of Lost Voices is half of why I chose that one over some other mermaid books I had in hand (sadly the book itself was boring me, so I kind of stopped reading it for now).
I think my favorite recent cover is probably The Name of the Star (Maureen Johnson). I can’t wait for it to be released!
I can’t wait for SS&D’s cover to show up on here!!!
September 20, 2011 @ 7:40 am
THE NAME OF THE STAR has a lovely cover!! I totally had cover envy for that one!! And the CLOCKWORK ANGEL/CLOCKWORK PRINCE–I love those. It’s so refreshing to see boys in the design!
September 19, 2011 @ 7:25 pm
those covers are gorgeous, and I bet Something Strange and Deadly’s cover is too! The Mephisto Covenant has such a brilliant cover that you know it will be a book that gets picked up because of it. I wish my book (which is still in WIP form) had a beautiful cover like that. Which it will, someday, hopefully. 🙂
September 20, 2011 @ 7:41 am
Yep, your WIP will most definitely have an awesome cover! Have you seen THE VESPERTINE cover? I love that one too–a similar idea as THE MEPHISTO COVENANT with a glamorous dress and lots of movement.
September 20, 2011 @ 3:11 am
I’m too lazy to go look up book covers, but the ones you listed really are fab. I’m really anxious to buy new books, but I’m trying to refrain until I have this dumb draft done. GRRRRR.
September 20, 2011 @ 7:42 am
Hahaha, that’s an admirable task, Jess. Finish the WIP, then read! I’m totally having to do that with ADS&L right now…my Goodreads is usually updated daily, but not lately!
September 20, 2011 @ 4:57 am
Oh, I do love all the beautiful covers!!! It’s one of my favorite things about ya lit. We get such gorgeous, gorgeous covers. By far the prettiest things on the bookshelves. Some recent books I picked up with covers I can’t stop staring at: Tessa Gratton’s Blood Magic and Fury by Elizabeth Miles. And yes, so many of the other Apocalypsies’ covers that have been revealed so far – cover lust!!!
September 20, 2011 @ 7:44 am
Oh, yeah! I totally forgot the FURY cover–it’s SO eye-catching with the orange of her hair and how she’s staring at you. And the BLOOD MAGIC cover is totally eye-catching too with the unique, kinda creepy vibe. I have total cover lust (and envy!). 😀