By using book covers as a standardized analogy for why we’re all oh-so-individual and why we’re all oh-so-different on the inside we forget something important:
Books are not people.
Yes, while a book cover can lead you on or while you may have skipped a book due to its boring wrapping, one truth still stands: when someone designs a book cover they think about who’ll be interested in it. Not so much with people.
Book covers are artificially created with a market in mind. That is why it’s so important for a book to have the right cover. When I decided on my own cover I had a few ideas to pick and choose from, but some of them, while pretty, would not have gotten the right people to pick up the book.
The current book cover totally gives off the vibe I wanted. A grey, deserted city. A woman walking decisively towards it. A feeling of doom and a man staring across a lake, perhaps towards her …
Had she been placed in the middle and closer up, as my graphic designer and I discussed, the feeling would have been sensationally different.
It would give off a much more YA-like vibe and people picking it up would be sorely disappointed as they’d expect Hunger Games like romantic dramas instead of the psychological mind game they’d get instead.
Both genres are legit and honorable, but they’re very different, and readers want what they want.
Just take these three Harry Potter book covers.
Very different indeed.
Which one screams “young adult fantasy that adults and children can enjoy as well”?
In my opinion the Danish cover (where he’s reaching for the snitch) is the best one. Maybe I’m biased, but J.K. Rowling agrees.
How do you feel about book covers? Are you generally right about the covers you pick up? Which covers have cheated you into reading stuff that sorely disappointed you? Here’s one of mine: