I like bookcovers.
When I look at one, I expect it to talk to me about what’s within its pages. As I read the book, I reference the cover, thinking maybe…yes, I can see how it relates to the story and at other times…what was the graphic artist thinking? Did he/she get even a blurb to say what the story’s about? I know from having been through the process several times that the writer either gets a questionnaire about the book or is asked what they visualize for their novel’s cover.
I remember reading about one writer’s disappointment that her story was about a middle-aged couple and the pair on the cover didn’t look as though they were out of their teens. She was worried that readers would think the book was misrepresented.
About a year ago, I notified my publisher about a book I’d seen mentioned in the local paper with the same cover as one she was about to publish. She was unconcerned, and I felt foolish. It was then that I started paying attention to stock photos. ‘Course, I hated the thought of anyone else’s book turning up with the same hot guy on the cover as Contraband. Thankfully, to date that has remained unique.
With each cover my books have been assigned, I’ve kept an eye out, hoping that no-one else chooses the same models and pictures. And this last time, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I dropped in on Kiru Taye’s blog. Congratulations are in order for her release, which is coming in December. I looked at the two models and thought I knew them, but as I commented to her, I like her cover because it has a ‘honeyed’ richness about it. She looked at my cover too and drew the same conclusions I did.
I like the fact that the artists, in their creativity, used the same stock image (or close to it) and put their own spin on it. One thing I have noticed in the YA world is the similarity of the covers. The current ‘styling’ seems to be all the rage. I was over at Tirzah’s, the other day, looking at some covers she’d done for a writer. I liked the fourth one and the last two. Then it dawned on me that the fourth one kinda looked like one I’d seen on one (or maybe more) popular YA novel. It feels like I’ve seen that particular picture used on more than one book, or maybe just a slight variation.
That said, I think publishers have programmed the public by telling us indirectly what to like. They force their flavour of the month on the book buying public and their preferences become the current rage. I think Michael made this point here.
Anyway, here are the covers I was talking about. Different, but created with the same base material. See how mine has a Caribbean flavour and the other is all about the characters and rich in colour? Ya gotta love diversity.