I figured today I'd continue my Parts of a Novel series with the glory of ~book covers~. Book cover art is a huge part of book marketing. (Yeah, nobody listens to the "don't judge a book by its cover" thing.) Novelists don't have a lot of control over them; publishers are the ones who make the cover art decisions, but it's still an important topic to discuss.
Those of you who have liked my Facebook page know I like to make, usually draw, my own covers. But to be honest, those usually aren't a representation of what I want for the actual cover. Most of the time, I draw them just to get a better sense of the characters or the story. For a real cover, aesthetic representation of the book's mood is the most important aspect, and that can be complicated to get right.
On a related note, YA author Maureen Johnson recently presented a very interesting challenge about gender-neutral covers. Check out this post with the slideshow at the bottom for that. It seriously makes you think. It also echoes a recent and progressing set of posts about sixth graders judging the way covers are done. The first post is here, with the links to the rest at the bottom.
With all that in mind, here are my own thoughts on book covers I love!
I like covers that are simple.
Yes. I like minimalistic covers with a clear focus, basic lettering, and preferably not an author tagline that's three miles high. (I'm talking to you, James Patterson.) I like one central symbol that's important to the book and that can catch the eye and offset the title. Por ejemple:
Yup. That's pretty darn simple. It's a Mockingjay cover designed specifically for adults in the UK because apparently British adults need special covers so they don't feel embarrassed about reading YA lit. Or something. 🤷🏻♀️
I really like it, though, even more than the original, even. Why? Well, I appreciate covers that, on top of having simplicity, are soft, natural, and feature my fave colors, which are on the blue/purple/grey side of the color wheel.
So what are my favorite book covers? I'll show you:
Series also need to have an appropriately cohesive set of covers.The Hunger Games trilogy matches. The Twilight Saga matches. Another series that has matching covers I like is the Matched trilogy
Some of you know that the first YA book I ever read was The Singer of All Songs by Kate Constable. I recently rediscovered the trilogy, and the covers are really good. The same featured characters, a striking color scheme, and small symbols to distinguish each book's point. There's a lot of artistry in these covers, although I do wish they were a bit softer. I like the last one the most.
The Divergent trilogy covers had something good going on, although the last one fell flat for me. I hate orange.
Not to mention, it totally looks like a laundry detergent container. For those of you who don't know, before the title was revealed, Veronica Roth joked around about calling it Detergent. Well, the cover lived up to that.
Finally, this is a pretty amusing post looking at trends related to people on YA book covers.
Let me know what you think, and tell me about your own favorite book covers!
First, though, you ought to know that in a week, I'll be doing a guest post by one of my characters. Yes, one of my characters will be "writing" on this blog--and you get to choose which one! So nominate away in the comments below, and we'll see what turns up!
(Editor's Note: Voting period has ended.)
Thanks for reading! To see a comprehensive and updated list of my favorite book covers, you can check out this Goodreads shelf.
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Images via Goodreads and Amazon.com.
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