Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
Because book covers suck. They’re disgusting. They’re after-thoughts. Ugly would be an understatement – they’re an abomination. They look like they’re designed by a suite on the top floor of the publishers, assembled in MS Paint, then given to a team of four-year-old with “best seller” stickers, then edited by Ray Charles.
Make them look down at a rose, mention that the authors a best seller, add a few quotes. Lightening. The cover needs lightening. Make it pop. Add in our logo of course, and the retail prices. Oh, mention their previous work
What’s the problem with that? Besides being ugly. Reading is interpretive, sometimes vague, sometimes detailed – but ultimately the imagery boils down to your perception and more interestingly, your specific experiences. It’s a story, but visually, it’s your minds eye – not one specific model’s close up that should be pre-planted.
The cover shouldn’t be selling the book. Why would it, and how can it? It shouldn’t. We have a commonly used metaphor that explains just that, repeated millions of times a day. It’s 2016, we have the internet. You’re a starting out author, there are many ways to sell your book. or, You’re a best seller, your new book came out. You have a platform to tell your friends and start word of mouth marketing – you don’t need a “cover that sells”.
If it were up to me, every book cover would be blank – like the majority of hard covers without that annoying wrap. They’d have the title on the spine, consistent fonts, orientations, along with the publishers logo. The end. Tone and genre could be set via the color of the book, the font choice. That’s all it should be in my becoming-incresingly-grumpier opinion.
But let’s be liberal, let’s allow a pinch of creativity into the canvas; say the important stuff: the author, the title, and one image. One single image. But not a descriptive or detailed image. No models, or blurred image of a country side. Something with no real depth or detail, a single dimension silhouette of sorts. And for fun, after reading the book, you know exactly why that image chosen is there. That’s nice. That’s what it should be.
And with e-book titles being republished, it’s kind of turning that way. The reasoning I believe is the thumbnail grids. Thumbnails are now selling books and making publisher their money. All the small quotes and captions, the stickers, best seller badges, and prices, they aren’t legible in thumbnails – they become a blur, a scare of a changing medium and market. What should we see in a thumbnail: a title, author, and some imagery. I’ll take it.
Looking into my favourite author’s iBooks author page of. We see two battling themes of cover designs, old, and new minimal, with a few “in the middle.”
The minimal covers, are a beautiful thing, they really are. None of the other crap, the author, the title, and an image, with the same font and theme, across decades of books.
Beauty is there, but it could be better. I still, in my aging opinion find these covers too exciting. Too loud. As such, I’m starting my own project, a collection of covers I would want to see on the book. I’ll make once after reading each book.