Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bad cover art

I love looking at book covers. Whether I’m voting on them (see the Cover Café’s annual contest, and nominate your favorite romance cover) or learning about the elements of successful design or just being awed by how bad they can get.

For more on the latter, be sure to check out Lousy Book Covers on Tumblr.

Six Writers Tell All About Covers and Blurbs is a great insight into the design process and the input writers have. I especially like the part about the writer who didn’t like her cover and let the publisher know.

I complained a little and they changed it enough to make me hate it so much more!

Some of those covers just don’t work at all for me, but that’s either an indication of how subjective this can be, or a sign that writers aren’t the best people in the world to judge the effectiveness of covers, especially their own. Which is why I liked this article, on what writers say to their editors about cover art and what they actually mean.

Why did you pick such an awful cover goes into detail about the function of the cover, the role of the publisher in this regard and the author’s perspective. This whole series of articles, Common Misconceptions About Publishing, is a good read.

Finally, what made me think of cover art in the first place for a topic?

Well, I finished the first round of edits on The Farthest Shore and turned in the next manuscript. That gave me enough time to browse my favorite part of Absolute Write, the Bewares subforum, where I found a new press with terrible cover art. Turns out the reason for this art is the publisher cutting corners by getting the authors to design their own covers.

…although many [writers] would probably prefer to just tell someone how it should look, they grow from having done it.

A bit like Tom Sawyer getting his friends to whitewash his fence by convincing them it was great fun. Except there it was supposed to be funny. Here, especially since the press targets younger writers (12 and up), it’s just sad. And personally, I want to "grow" as a writer, not as a cover designer.


gypsyscarlett said...

Thanks for sharing those links. Some of the responses were wicked funny.

I do wonder about blurbs. I'll be grateful for them, but do wonder how the general public perceives them, especially since a lot are rather generic. "I couldn't put it down!" etc...

Marian Perera said...

I hardly ever read the blurb, because of course it's going to be rah-rah.

What matters to me is who provided it, because that can say something about the sub-genre or tone or heat level. If Janette Oke provides the blurb for a romance, I'm guessing it's inspirational even if the cover is just generic flowers and trees. If Pamela Morsi recommends it, it's Americana romance. If Robin Schone likes it... reconsider the flowers.

Suzanne Brandyn Author said...

I was asked for my honest opinion about a cover, and I stated so. Saying I didn't like the guy on the front, or the background.

That was the beginning of something I didn't expect. She was annoyed, got very abrupt but thankfully I put it back to her, 'You asked for my thoughts, and input' This is what I have done.

I have never liked the final version of that cover, and therefore I didn't promote that book at all.