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General Discussion > COVERS - let's talk about cover art!

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message 1: by Xen (new)

Xen Randell (xeniya) | 16 comments I've posted this topic in the Lovers of Paranormal first, but I thought it might be nice to start it here, also. Hope you don't mind, and just ignore one if you're a member of both groups :)

Anyway, what about covers? Do you judge the book by it? How important is it to you? Does it have anything to do with what you expect to find among the pages?

Art and design quality: do you feel, like me, that authors give far too little importance to the quality of the covers? As an artist,I have very hard time to understand how a good writer can put a tremendously bad cover to their hard work. Just... why?

I have tons of examples, but here are the most recent ones I can think of. The good and the bad example :)

The BAD: "Burned" by K.M.Moning, the Fever series



This is SUCH a great series! It's plot is wide, the characters deep and three-dimensional... and this is SUCH a terrible cover art! I mean, by the look of it, you'd say that the only thing that's important is that there are hot guys in there. Sure, there are, but it's NOT the book's main thing. Not even close. So why? The entire series had better covers. If not technically great, at least with theme of it, you can't go totally astray when guessing the content. But this? Karen, why? The only thing you'd be guessing correctly is that there is something hot in it.

The GOOD: The "Penryn and the End of Days" series by Susan Ee. The cover here is for the first one, the "Angelfall"



Cover art for those three books are the proof that sometimes it really is true: less is more. The simplicity of the art only accentuates the meaning. They are technically very good (I could discuss the letters, tho, but let's not split hairs), the colors complement each other very well, it is also modern and still contains that something we, paranormal lovers need - a bit of dark atmosphere. Be sure to take a look at the other two covers as well:
World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2) by Susan Ee and End of Days (Penryn and the End of Days, #3) by Susan Ee


What's your opinion?


message 2: by LISA (new)

LISA | 39 comments I do look at the cover to determine if I should read it but I also read the comments and rating to determine if the cover does not match the story.


message 3: by Christina (new)

Christina Harlin | 8 comments I look to cover art as an indicator of genre, and I appreciate beautiful cover art but can forgive lousy cover art - more often I turn to the back cover first anyway, to get a synopsis so the front cover is not the ultimate decision-maker for me. From my personal experience, I also know that authors contracted through a publishing company do not always have a choice what cover is put on a book. The marketing people are the often the ones who make the decision. Perhaps once an author is well-established, they get to have a say in their cover art. Does anyone know if this is true?


message 4: by Susan (new)

Susan Catalano (susancatalano) | 27 comments I agree a good-looking cover that gives a sense of story is important. Writing is an art, and the cover is part of that art. And, while the cover may not be the most important part of a book, it is the first thing we see, so it should be compelling enough to make you want to pick up the book, flip through its pages and hopefully read it.


message 5: by Liv (new)

Liv | 26 comments If the book isn't already part of a series I am reading or a writer I love, I always notice the cover first. If I don't like the cover, I don't waste a second thought on that book. (There are way to many books at the bookstore that I would have the time to pay more interest)
That means that I don't even turn the book around and read what's it about. (Maybe I miss some good books because of that, but I often have already so many on my to-read-shelf that it's better not to overload it anyway.) But if I get a recommendation that a book (with bad cover) is really good and I should read it, then I would at least read about the plot and some comments from other readers. After that I decide if I'm going to read it or not.

The bottom line is that a book without a good, catchy cover, will probably not be read by me. (Except somebody shoves it in my face =P )


message 6: by Xen (new)

Xen Randell (xeniya) | 16 comments Susan wrote: "I agree a good-looking cover that gives a sense of story is important. Writing is an art, and the cover is part of that art. And, while the cover may not be the most important part of a book, it is..."

Exactly! It's not that a book looses its quality 'cause of a bad cover art, and I'm first to always look for reviews and read the blurbs and excerpts if available... BUT, I see books as ART, in capitals. Cover art is also ART and they complement each other, why not take advantage of that?

I will read a book with a bad cover, and quite possibly it will become my next fave book/series. But I always get that sad feeling about the cover.


message 7: by Xen (last edited Apr 28, 2015 07:48AM) (new)

Xen Randell (xeniya) | 16 comments Oh btw. Susan, I saw on your profile that you've just read The Witching Elm by C.N.Crawford, its cover is done by one of the best cover artists I've seen: Carlos Quevedo. Just love his art!

http://carlos-quevedo.deviantart.com/


message 8: by Talltree (new)

Talltree | 24 comments I don't judge books by the covers but if i like the books and they have amazing covers, i savor them and admire them on my book shelf.

I like the covers on Megan Whalen Turner's Attolia series eg: The Thief (The Queen's Thief, #1) by Megan Whalen Turner The Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, #2) by Megan Whalen Turner The King of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, #3) by Megan Whalen Turner

And also the Mercy Thompson series Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, #3) by Patricia Briggs


message 9: by Shirla (new)

Shirla Ghadaki | 8 comments I usually buy books but I still consider the covers shown. It is so irritating when a cover doesn't match the story.


message 10: by Diana (new)

Diana Rising (dianaruthr) I usually consider the recommendation from a trusted fellow reader, author's name, then the cover to decide if I even want to even read the blurb for a book. I love to find new authors, so that means the cover art is incredibly important when I am looking at goodreads recommendations, or amazon.com recommendations. A lot of times, the cover is so full, or colors and fonts chosen badly, so I don't even know what the book is.
I'm sure there are some great books I never considered because of the cover. There are so many books out there and new ones published every day, that I can't help but "judge the book by its cover."
I also often remember book covers, even for my kindle books, and skip them over when they look familiar. Several times recently I've seen the same photos on covers that were on covers of books I've already read. I guess that means they must be public domain, or well-advertised to indie authors. It is disconcerting.


message 11: by Susan (new)

Susan Catalano (susancatalano) | 27 comments Xeniya wrote: "Oh btw. Susan, I saw on your profile that you've just read The Witching Elm by C.N.Crawford, its cover is done by one of the best cover artists I've seen: Carlos Quevedo. Just love his art!

http:/..."


Oh, that's cool! I checked his page out- he has some amazing stuff. So intricate. I do like the new cover he did for The Witching Elm. I also like the Angelfall covers.


message 12: by Susan (last edited Apr 29, 2015 04:55PM) (new)

Susan Catalano (susancatalano) | 27 comments Diana wrote: "I usually consider the recommendation from a trusted fellow reader, author's name, then the cover to decide if I even want to even read the blurb for a book. I love to find new authors, so that mea..."

Using the same cover art isn't exclusive to indie authors. I recently did a double take in Barnes and Noble when I saw this on the shelf: Atlantis Rising by Gloria Craw

and I have this book at home: The Vineyard by Michael Hurley

Both were traditionally published. I can almost forgive an indie author with limited means falling into this situation, but a publisher? I guess I wouldn't expect them to use open stock photos.


message 13: by Diana (new)

Diana Rising (dianaruthr) Both were traditionally published. I can almost forgive an indie author with limited means falling into this situation, but a publisher? I guess I wouldn't expect them to use open stock photos."

I agree it makes sense to use less expensive photos, that might also be available to others, but it has definitely confused me a time or two.


message 14: by Susan (new)

Susan Catalano (susancatalano) | 27 comments Diana wrote: "Both were traditionally published. I can almost forgive an indie author with limited means falling into this situation, but a publisher? I guess I wouldn't expect them to use open stock photos."

I..."


I know what you mean. It feels really strange to me too.


message 15: by Xen (new)

Xen Randell (xeniya) | 16 comments Susan wrote: "Using the same cover art isn't exclusive to indie authors. I recently did a double take in Barnes and Noble when I saw this on the shelf: Atlantis Rising by Gloria Craw ..."

OMG! This is so not good! I mean, I really don't think it's bad to use open stock photos, but at least CHANGE them, use photoshop, anything! This is really confusing...


message 16: by Diana (new)

Diana Rising (dianaruthr) OMG! This is so not good! I mean, I really don't think it's bad to use open stock photos, but at least CHANGE them, use photoshop, anything! This is really confusing... "

I don't know what their rights allow them to do. They overlay them with titles and sometimes the picture isn't the whole cover, so they position them differently. Making a cover is probably expensive, and I don't suppose it is easy to search for similar covers on other books. It is understandable.


message 17: by C.A. (new)

C.A. Mitchell (camitchell) | 8 comments I think covers must represent the book inside. I read a book recently that had a really gothic, spooky cover, and I was already for a haunted house style thriller, and instead got an upperclass teen drama. I would have liked it if that's what had been advertised, but I ended up getting so annoyed it really ruined my enjoyment!

I LOVE the cover for Angelfall. If I picked up that book I would have some very high standards (which ain't always a good thing). I really love Maggie Stiefvater's covers, and Susan Dennard's cover for Truthwitch is also really cool.

In today's bloated market, the cover is as important as word of mouth.


message 18: by Susan (new)

Susan Catalano (susancatalano) | 27 comments Diana wrote: "OMG! This is so not good! I mean, I really don't think it's bad to use open stock photos, but at least CHANGE them, use photoshop, anything! This is really confusing... "

I don't know what their r..."


Diana wrote: "OMG! This is so not good! I mean, I really don't think it's bad to use open stock photos, but at least CHANGE them, use photoshop, anything! This is really confusing... "

I don't know what their r..."


I think I would expect a publishing house to work within their own art department, meaning those covers would be exclusive to the books they publish. It seems odd that they would resort to non-exclusive open stock photos.


message 19: by Diana (new)

Diana Rising (dianaruthr) C.A. wrote: "I think covers must represent the book inside. I read a book recently that had a really gothic, spooky cover, and I was already for a haunted house style thriller, and instead got an upperclass te..."

I one hundred percent agree that the cover has to represent the story. A great cover represents more than just one moment in the story, but gives you the right feel. Then it helps you choose the book.


message 20: by Diana (new)

Diana Rising (dianaruthr) Susan Wrote...I think I would expect a publishing house to work within their own art department, meaning those covers would be exclusive to the books they publish. It seems odd that they would resort to non-exclusive open stock photos..."

I agree. That is part of why they get some of the income from the book--it is part of what they are offering the author.


message 21: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Watts | 35 comments As a reader, I am attracted to books by their covers, but wouldn't buy one just because of it. I do, however, want the cover to represent the book inside, or I feel very let down.

A while back I wrote a guest blog post on my thoughts about covers as a writer. For those who are interested, you can read it here: http://www.thebookdivasreads.com/2012...


message 22: by Xen (new)

Xen Randell (xeniya) | 16 comments Diana wrote: I don't know what their rights allow them to do. They overlay them with titles and sometimes the picture isn't the whole cover, so they position them differently. Making a cover is probably expensive, and I don't suppose it is easy to search for similar covers on other books. It is understandable. "

If you use a stock image, you have every right to edit it, once you buy it. Exclusivity of it depends on the image author/website/price. However, even non-exclusive images don't need to be all the same, that's what the Photoshop was invented for.
Oh and, see Google Search by Image - you'd be surprised how accurate it is when searching similar images!

Susan wrote: " I think I would expect a publishing house to work within their own art department, meaning those covers would be exclusive to the books they publish. It seems odd that they would resort to non-exclusive open stock photos."

I guess it depends on the size of the publishing house or the budget of the publisher/author. Buying exclusive rights to an image is VERY expensive. But custom cover art is not that much, that's why I don't understand why many authors don't use it. And I'm not talking about indie authors who really can't afford it.


Oh, I would like to share the Guild Hunter series covers, by Nalini Singh! Each and every one is custom made with the exact character depicting the story. Very nice! This is the third one:




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