Saturday, 1 August 2015

Judging a Book by Its Cover

I haven't written an actual blog post for a while, instead promoting other people's books or writing flashes, which I suppose might be counted.

I have recently started to think about book covers as I have had cause to discuss and help to design two that I consider to be truly beautiful.

First, let me admit I hate stock photographs. This came initially from the shocking discovery that some of the photographs I used on my books were used on other people's books. I really didn't like that. I like to be unique.

Then I started to realize there was a theme that ran through m/m books and a large number include photographs of men, usually half naked and often not doing very much other than looking sexy. I appreciate a nice sexy photograph of a half naked man, but on a book cover? On that many book covers?

I recently considered buying a book that sounded good from the blurb, A sweet love story between two men with a big age gap. The characters seemed solid an believable, and I was attracted to the story. But the cover put me off because it had two half naked men looking sexy and pretty much the same age. I didn't buy the book.

Part of my issue is that the image often doesn't reflect any of the characters or scenes in the book and it's not possible to relate the cover to anything or anyone on the inside. Obviously, this only relates to the books I've read because I can't say that about any books I haven't read.

Another thing is that the covers are similar enough to make the books seem generic. I am rarely attracted to any books with this kind of cover, unless they have been recommended to me.

As an artist, I'm always drawn to the covers of books rather than the blurb and I'm invariably drawn to unusual ones, especially original art or a background that sets a mood.  I like colour and vibrancy and covers that tell a story by themselves.

Perversely, I like covers with just one face or person provided they conveys

emotion that suggests the theme or feeling of the story, and includes something that gives a clue about events or themes in the story. Of my own covers there are few with stock images and the majority have been heavily worked with and enhanced by imagery and art. There's only one with a figure (who doesn't look like any of the characters) standing alone - and I hate it.

So, what does this tell you about book covers, and what does it tell you about me?

Well, presumably the book covers with sexy men on the front are popular otherwise they wouldn't be used. On the other hand my books with their original covers aren't popular. I guess I'm just weird.

These are some of my favourite book covers

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