Friday, September 19, 2008

My Cover Art Fetishes

Recently I received a book the cover of which caused my mother to go, "That looks boring." But, see, if there's one thing that reading Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews taught me, it's that covers are misleading. (Okay, I finished reading that this week. But it reinforced that notion.)

However, I'll agree: crappy covers suck. Nothing is more of a mood killer than seeing an excellent book with a cover designed by an unconscious infant - nothing is more aggravating than buying a book with an excellent cover only to find out the writing is ... in a class of its own, to be sarcastic.

So I thought I'd compile a list of my cover attractions - what calls me to a book before I even read the synopsis.

Frogs. Hey, I'm looking for my Prince Charming, all right? (Er...not really.)













Butterflies. They're fascinating creatures - metamorphosis and all that.













Dark themed - they set such a great mood!















And, okay, I'm also a huge fan of the Maureen Johnson covers:









So -- anyone got any thoughts on covers? Are they deal makers or breakers for you? And - important question - have you seen any lately that made you go, "What kinda crack was that artist ON?"

18 comments:

Khyrinthia said...

I love dark covers too, or ones with faeries. Which pretty much go hand in hand, actually...anyway. I'm also always on the lookout for books with girls who have head/eyeless torsos. (Like Maureen Johnson's other books.) I like them, for some reason. xD

I think the only covers that have made we wonder if the artist was on crack were Wondrous Strange and The Devouring, because I think the artists must be like the artist on Heroes who could draw ultra wonderful when he had some heroin. Except these artists doing their best work on crack. Also, whoever drew the cover of Cybele's Secret has to be on something stronger than crack and be like the guy on Heroes because that cover is a work of art.

pepsivanilla said...

I am a sucker for an awesome cover, so a bad cover is pretty much a deal breaker unless the story sounds amazing beyond belief.
I love the covers for Maryrose Wood's books, Why I Let My Hair Grow Out and How I Found The Perfect Dress. I also really like the covers of Rachel Cohn's books Gingerbread, Shrimp, and Cupcake- both the original and new covers of the series.
I don't think I've seen any recently that I hated, although I'm not a huge fan of illustrated covers.

Cassandra said...

I don't usually go for the covers – titles are what get me – but I looove Cassandra Clare's covers, for City of Bones and City of Ashes. The whole fire-for-hair thing is awesome!

Book said...

Covers like Wondrous Strange, Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Faerie Path that have ... I don't even know how to describe it, but those covers and ones like it just ALWAYS grab my attention when I see them. It's like a combination of the cover model and the colors they use on the cover that make it stand out. Another cover I love is Nobody's Prize by Esther Friesner (and the prequel, Nobody's Princess, looks really good too). Oh and How to Ditch a Fairy by Justine Larbalestier.

But usually, I don't really care about covers- they aren't a make-or-break deal for me. If the story is interesting enough, it doesn't matter what the cover looks like. Ones I don't really like though include some of the older YA books, like some of Sarah Dessen's original covers and a couple of the books by Dia Calhoun, though her newest book Avielle of Rhia more than makes up for the horrible earlier book covers. It is SUCH a beautiful cover.

Book Chic said...

Um, so I accidentally hit Enter before putting in the rest of my info, but the comment from "Book" is me, Book Chic.

The Book Muncher said...

doesnt the girl on the cover of Evermore look like a flipped version (and color skewed) or the girl on the cover of North of Beautiful?

no matter, i'm just psyched there's gonna be a new book from Alyson Noel :D

Amee said...

I buy books based on covers so I must say if you can get a good cover, I might not even read the synopsis before buying it. :P

That said, I've seen some pretty hideous covers. Nailed by Jennifer Laurens comes to mind. That was probably the only cover I felt compelled to mention for it's negative aspects in a review. Usually even if the cover sucks I won't mention it.

Good covers that come to covers mind: Eva Ibbotson has awesome covers. I barely read the synopsis before buying a few of hers. Gemma Doyle series, Maureen Johnson, the I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone cover moved me to buy it more than the synopsis actually. And I'm sure there are a ton more but these are what I'm thinking of immediately.

Book Chic said...

Book Muncher- Yeah, it's the same photo. Alea posted about it a little while ago on her site. I noticed it when I first saw the Evermore cover cuz I'd already seen the NoB cover by that point.


Also, forgot to ask this earlier, what book was it that you got that made your mom say it looked boring? I wanna know if I own it, lol.

Steph said...

James - as it was a book sent to me, I'm not going to name titles because that would be a little disrespectful toward the author (given I haven't read their book yet and can't substantially call it boring). Sorry!

Steph

Alea said...

Yay for this post! I definitely judge books by their covers. When I'm in a store I won't pick up a book with an ugly cover, that is unless it was recommended and then i will read the back cover. I usually avoid avoid avoid and then one day actually find out what the books about and say to myself "Well that doesn't sound so bad"

I don't know why I do this though, the cover art really has nothing to do with the book itself, I doubt the designers know much about the books, I know I don't ever know too much. I get maybe a chapter or two at the most. It's definitely hard, the cover is how a book is recognized and it can make or break it sometimes. I know it's totally incorrect but seeing a cover I dig makes me think I'll also dig the writing style, if only authors did their cover designs then that would be accurate!

One of my big turnoffs lately are cartoon covers. They are just ick. I guess the ones I really like are the ones I wish I had designed myself! I'm on pins and needles to find out what the Perfect Fifths cover looks like and also the next Luxe Book, Envy. I love to see how series covers keep a consistent look!

Jennaroo said...

Oh I completely agree - I won't read a book if the cover isn't appealing. I know that sounds really bad, but I just can't get my head around it! I love it when covers tell a little bit about the story, but just in little hints as opposed to a battle scene. I don't really like the headless and eyeless book covers, but they're okay.

Kelsey said...

I'm not a big fan of the cartoon covers, unless I know the author. I totally judge a book by it's cover before I read the synopsis. I mean, how else do you decide what book to pick up in a bookstore, the cover, or the title.

My favorite cover has to be Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, also my favorite book. Generation Dead by Daniel Waters is awesome also, I love the Evermore cover, but still don't know what it's about. I love the covers for Bass Ackwards and Belly Up and it's sequel, Sarah Dessen's new covers are amazing, well besides Lock and Key isn't all that great. Love the Breaking Dawn cover, Wake is awesome. Kiss Me, Kill Me, Jessica Darling series. That's all I can think of right now.

Meggy said...

I think Melissa Marr's covers are gorgeous, especially the oen for Wicked Lovely.

Taren said...

I'm totally guilty of buying books based on their covers. That's one of the main reasons I bought Bergdorf Blondes -there's a gorgeous pink diamond ring on the cover. As I love all things pink and shiny I had to have it. Obviously, pretty has nothing to do with content, but you end up hating it what's the worst that's happened? You now have a pretty, shiny coaster!

Bluetiful Nostalgia said...

Usually, I check books with amazing covers and then read the blurbs. Yup GUILTY!!
Despite that, I do sometimes check the blurbs of ugly covers especially the ones recommended to me.

Bluetiful Nostalgia said...

oh! ahem...
Love your blog!

C. Leigh Purtill said...

When I visit schools and library groups, inevitably someone mentions that the girl on the cover of VEE isn't nearly heavy enough to represent the character - and she's not. But she's the modeling industry's version of a "heavy" girl. !!

Ms. Yingling said...

Jacket Whys is a great site that shows covers, compares them AND tells a little about the book. If you want bad covers, you should see some of the 1980s covers. Poor Richard Cuffari. I love his stuff, but it's the kiss of death on covers in my library!

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