The Sword and Laser discussion

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Cover Art: Is It Just Me...?

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message 1: by Trike (last edited Oct 10, 2012 07:15AM) (new)

Trike | 8768 comments I got an Amazon email this morning and had this feeling of deja vu all over again.

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message 2: by Tacuazin (new)

Tacuazin | 22 comments Ah, plagiarism is such an ugly word!
:-)
They may think: if it worked once, why not try it again?
In any case, thanks for the visual, there are a couple of books here that are just about to join my TBR pile.


message 3: by Paul (new)

Paul Harmon (thesaint08d) | 639 comments Look at all those Chick Lit Urban fantasy books all the covers look like they came from the same place. Always joke about it with my wife.


message 4: by Jason (new)

Jason Craft (vigroco) | 20 comments Don't judge a book by its cover, unless it looks like a book you read, then all bets are off.


message 5: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6376 comments At least they don't have tramp stamps.


message 6: by Paul (new)

Paul Harmon (thesaint08d) | 639 comments Tamahome wrote: "At least they don't have tramp stamps."
You mean like the Patricia Briggs...Mercy Thompson covers?


message 7: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6376 comments Yeah.




message 8: by Paul (new)

Paul Harmon (thesaint08d) | 639 comments Tamahome wrote: "Yeah.

"


Hah EXACTLY what I was picturing :)


message 9: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6376 comments


message 10: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (diamond_rebel) | 12 comments Same thing with 50 Shades of Grey, once that book took off there were hundreds of books that had a dark cover with some object on the cover. Which in reality is what the twilight books did. So... the question becomes are we really that influenced by cover art either consciously or subconsciously. If we loved one book and see another which looks like it will you read it? Sometimes regardless of what the content of the book is.

Disclaimer: I have not read Twilight or 50 Shades of Grey, that was the clearest example I have seen.


message 11: by Kat (new)

Kat | 28 comments Speaking of Twilight,


Yes, it's brilliant marketing to try to get younger readers to pick up classics. Even so, it irks me to see some of the greatest literary love stories put on the same level as Twilight.


message 12: by Daran (new)

Daran | 599 comments Paul wrote: "Tamahome wrote: "At least they don't have tramp stamps."
You mean like the Patricia Briggs...Mercy Thompson covers?"


Tamahome wrote: "Yeah.

"


I'm not saying I bought the books because of the cover...no, that's exactly what I'm saying. But I've kept reading because I've liked them.

I'm a sucker for a hooded rogue or a barred blade on a cover. I'm also more likely to try a novel with a cover by Michael Whelan, Chrisitan McGrath, or Todd Lockwood. I've bought some baaaad fantasy because of that policy. But more good than bad.


message 13: by Paul (new)

Paul Harmon (thesaint08d) | 639 comments Daran wrote: "Paul wrote: "Tamahome wrote: "At least they don't have tramp stamps."
You mean like the Patricia Briggs...Mercy Thompson covers?"

Tamahome wrote: "Yeah.

"

I'm not saying I bought the books becau..."


Michael Whelan. I have an entire set of art cards of his stuff from the 90's.


message 14: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6376 comments Reading a book because of the cover, is like sleeping with a woman because of her looks. Sometimes it works out. Or so I hear.


message 15: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 314 comments Interesting. I recently had quite heated row about this with someone on another forum who basically slagged the cover of my book off.

Now I may be in a minority here but I don't like stock, generic covers. If a book has a female elf in a chain mail bikini and a warrior who is built like MR Universe it may be a great read, but there is something in my mind which says if the author could not come up with an original cover then how interesting or original is the book.

The cover of my own book is not ideal, however it is unique and it is mine. I do agree to an extent that the cover does pull people in or turn them away but I would pick up a book and read the blurb, THAT is what attracts me. If people don't like the cover and don't want it, then well they miss out.

I see the stock figures all the time, all those romance and erotica books advertised with the generic airbrushed male torso...

Now I think some of the covers above are cool, the hooded figure is appealing and the sword is appealing BUT they are rather unoriginal. Band wagons are attractive... as someone said 50SoG for a start (Which I have a sample of and is a truly TERRIBLE book.)

It is common place for people to follow what came before, especially in image. All those celebrities whose looks get followed, fashions and trends. People like to belong, well some people do. Why think up or behave in a way which is original when there is a perfectly good bandwagon to rope your horse too?

I also cited examples of books where the cover does not portray the style of the book- I was shot down over that as well. I guess what works for some does not work for others.


message 16: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 314 comments Katrina wrote: "Speaking of Twilight,


Yes, it's brilliant marketing to try to get younger readers to pick up classics. Even so, it irks me to see some of the greatest literary love stories put on the same level..."


OMG!!!! This should not be allowed!!!!

I would hardly say any twilight is anywhere even close. All 3 of those classics are wonderful, and should be read in their own right. I would not say a rose symbolises WH in any way. It is a love story but if anything it is dark romance, a story of obsession and lost love. R and J is, of course, a tragedy.

Twilight, in my opinion, has done a good deal of damage to the vampire genre don;t let it hurt the romance and classics too.


message 17: by Paul (new)

Paul Harmon (thesaint08d) | 639 comments Tamahome wrote: "Reading a book because of the cover, is like sleeping with a woman because of her looks. Sometimes it works out. Or so I hear."

Well You can't compare really because if you read a book because of the cover and it stinks then you just wasted hours of your life.

Where as if you sleep with a woman because she's beautiful and it stinks you still just had sex with a beautiful woman...


message 18: by Ayesha (new)

Ayesha (craniumrinse) Paul wrote: "Well You can't compare really because if you read a book because of the cover and it stinks then you just wasted hours of your life.

Where as if you sleep with a woman because she's beautiful and it stinks you still just had sex with a beautiful woman... "


I'm wondering where a transvestite would fit in that analogy... Perhaps the book was shelved in the wrong genre?

Cover art use to practically tell a story on it's own. I guess publishing houses aren't willing to pay for that kind of quality anymore.

But, call me a snob, it's better than some of those e-published books with covers that look like they were clip-artted together by someone with a novice's understanding of Photoshop.


message 19: by Daran (new)

Daran | 599 comments Paul wrote: Well You can't compare really because if you read a book because of the cover and it stinks then you just wasted hours of your life.

Where as if you sleep with a woman because she's beautiful and it stinks you still just had sex with a beautiful woman...


But you'll have the cool cover from the book for the rest of your life. Whereas who knows what you'll be stuck with for the rest of you life because of the beautiful woman.


message 20: by Gordon (new)

Gordon McLeod (mcleodg) | 347 comments Alexandra wrote: "Now I may be in a minority here but I don't like stock, generic covers. If a book has a female elf in a chain mail bikini and a warrior who is built like MR Universe it may be a great read, but there is something in my mind which says if the author could not come up with an original cover then how interesting or original is the book."

In most cases the author is lucky to have any input into the cover though, at least outside of the self-publishing world. Aside from that, I have to agree.


message 21: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 314 comments Ayesha wrote: "Paul wrote: "Well You can't compare really because if you read a book because of the cover and it stinks then you just wasted hours of your life.

Where as if you sleep with a woman because she's b..."


Usually that is because they were clip arted. Not everyone has the ability to draw or can afford a decent cover artist.


message 22: by Ulmer Ian (last edited Oct 13, 2012 10:50PM) (new)

Ulmer Ian (eean) | 341 comments I've read it explained like this for US books: To some extent this is because for genre-fiction they need to make sure the shelvers at bookstores when they come in to work at 6am know which genre shelf to put their book on.

So fantasy books are required to have a big sword, or a guy or gal in a cloak, or both. Similarly laser guns and spaceships are a big plus for scifi books.

Though of course it's not just the shelver, but also the customer. It needs to be eye-catching. But that's all. I think in Britain (maybe because of public transit?) it's also important that the book make the reader look smart. Obviously that doesn't really seem to be the case for American covers...

Amazon obviously changes the game. Genres work totally different on Amazon, since books can be 'located' many places at once. And now it's important to be eye catching in a small thumbnail image. So I expect cover images to get more bold and simple (like 50 shades of gray, for better or worse...). Maybe the title itself will become even smaller though, since that's provided by the Amazon interface.


message 23: by Paul (new)

Paul | 100 comments Looks from the top that not only covers but titles help.
So look out for my future, and to be hugely successful blockbuster trilogy "Mage of Norths"


message 24: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6376 comments Mine will be 'Revenge of the Hooded Zombie Swordswomen with Goggles and Fetching Midriffs'.


message 25: by Nicklaus (new)

Nicklaus | 10 comments Paul wrote: "Tamahome wrote: "Reading a book because of the cover, is like sleeping with a woman because of her looks. Sometimes it works out. Or so I hear."

Well You can't compare really because if you read..."


To which my wife must add "and get free gonorrhea!" so yeah... i don't think it compares ;)


message 26: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6376 comments I don't know. I've seen some pretty dirty used books.


message 27: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Scott (tjscott978) | 31 comments Something else you need to keep in mind is that publishers often use the same artists to create book covers.
So the covers may appear similar because the artists are the same.


message 28: by Bryek (new)

Bryek | 273 comments Lets face it, cover art sells books. and if something is successful, by creating a cover art that is similar to the book that is successful, a publishing company can infer that this new book is "like that other book, buy me because we are similar and if you liked that, your going to like me." Nothing wrong with that in my opinion seeing as catchy cover art pulled me towards Brent Weeks Night Angel Trilogy before it got popular.


message 29: by Daran (new)

Daran | 599 comments I just read a post at The Black Gate which provides some insight into the cover art process. Might be relevant here.

http://www.blackgate.com/2012/10/15/a...


message 30: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2521 comments Thanks Daran, that article on Blackgate was quite informative. I have to agree with feeling that any kind of photograph does not belong on the cover of epic fantasy.


message 31: by Joe Informatico (new)

Joe Informatico (joeinformatico) | 888 comments Ulmer Ian wrote: "So fantasy books are required to have a big sword, or a guy or gal in a cloak, or both. Similarly laser guns and spaceships are a big plus for scifi books."

In other words, SF&F book covers haven't fundamentally changed in the last half-century. Although I guess we don't see quite as many covers groups of two to four people in RenFaire garb standing around looking serious in a wilderness setting.


message 32: by D. Hunter (new)

D. Hunter Phillips (DigitalCulture) | 5 comments Shoot, that's why my book isn't in the top 100 in SF&F. I don't have a sword or lasers on the cover! CRAP!


message 33: by Neil (new)

Neil | 165 comments D. Hunter wrote: "Shoot, that's why my book isn't in the top 100 in SF&F. I don't have a sword or lasers on the cover! CRAP!"

You fool! It doesn't matter what the book is about clearly your cover should be a moody looking guy, holding a laser sword wearing a cloak. The only decision left open is whether he is sitting down in an oversized chair of some kind or not.


message 34: by D. Hunter (new)

D. Hunter Phillips (DigitalCulture) | 5 comments Sorry, my guy is gonna wield a giant axe.


message 35: by Neil (new)

Neil | 165 comments D. Hunter wrote: "Sorry, my guy is gonna wield a giant axe."

A laser axe though right?


message 36: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments Paul wrote: "Looks from the top that not only covers but titles help.
So look out for my future, and to be hugely successful blockbuster trilogy "Mage of Norths""


I think you mean "SHADOW Mage of Norths."


message 37: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments Kp wrote: "Lets face it, cover art sells books. and if something is successful, by creating a cover art that is similar to the book that is successful, a publishing company can infer that this new book is "like that other book, buy me because we are similar and if you liked that, your going to like me." Nothing wrong with that in my opinion seeing as catchy cover art pulled me towards Brent Weeks Night Angel Trilogy before it got popular."

The marketing aspect is a given. I was just surprised to open my email and see what essentially looked like the 3 same books being peddled. At first glance I thought some of them were from the same series.

I *do* wish I'd seen the Brent Weeks Night Angel compendium in that email, too, though! It's the perfect companion to the new Game of Thrones.

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message 38: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6376 comments That's completely different. The sword handles are on opposite sides.


message 39: by Kevin (new)


message 40: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6376 comments


message 41: by D. Hunter (new)

D. Hunter Phillips (DigitalCulture) | 5 comments I want to get an artist to draw me something wear it shows the tip of one of those swords zoomed at the same level, impaled in the poor victim at the end of it. That would put a new spin on the sword close up.


message 42: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments Time for another Cover Coincidence©™®!

March 1st, new email, featuring SF/F/Mystery novels. This time it's not the art but rather the authors. Check out this weirdness:




message 43: by Paul (last edited Mar 01, 2013 02:44PM) (new)

Paul | 100 comments Haha Robin Hobb has this covered (pardon the pun)
She chose a name that was short enough to have her name in large letters on the cover.
Megan Lindholm would be too long for that (though there were other factors for the name change)

The use of the initials is funny. I guess if it worked for T.S.Eliot it could work for anyone! lol


message 44: by L.S. (last edited Mar 01, 2013 05:23PM) (new)

L.S. Burton (lsburton337) I think it's a case of brand identification. The cover is a signal to science fiction fans that these are the things you'll find inside: fantasy/ science / spaceships, etc. But if you're just yelling "HEY! FANTASY OVER HERE! it's going to get repetitive.

(especially when they're blatantly copying another's success)

I did a blog post on something similar a month or so ago, on old book covers. Seems to me that publishers used to think that only adolescent boys bought science fiction, and what do boys like: space ships and girls, so you end up with a lot of old covers with semi-nude sparkly ladies flying through some sort of space mist, or posing suggestively in front of explosions and planets and ships.

There's all sorts of books I thought looked interesting but I was too embarrassed to actually purchase.


message 45: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 44 comments Initials usually are an attempt to mask the author's gender for sales reasons.


message 46: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6376 comments That's publishing for you. If something looks successful, they'll repeat it until they beat it to death.


message 47: by Micah (new)

Micah (onemorebaker) | 1071 comments Tamahome wrote: "That's publishing for you. If something looks successful, they'll repeat it until they beat it to death."

I would change the word "publishing" to "humanity" in that sentence.


message 48: by Paul (new)

Paul (latepaul) I think there's a lot to be said for being able to tell at a glance roughly what kind of book it is.


message 49: by Robert of Dale (new)

Robert of Dale (r_dale) | 185 comments Alexandra wrote: "Now I may be in a minority here but I don't like stock, generic covers. If a book has a female elf in a chain mail bikini and a warrior who is built like MR Universe it may be a great read, but there is something in my mind which says if the author could not come up with an original cover then how interesting or original is the book."

Authors who don't self-publish rarely get to choose their own book covers, signing tour locations, shelf placement, or many other aspects. Unless they're hugely successful and can dictate the terms of their contracts. The benefit to them is that marketing experts, conservative as they may be, choose book cover artists & designs for them, and the publisher takes care of all of that other stuff too.


message 50: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 314 comments Yes but what you see isn't always what you get and I wonder if the cover is generic is the story generic?


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