Cover Design Deja Vu?

Ah ha! Found them. Here are the two covers that Liz Carlyle’s The Devil You Know reminded me of:

Sometime early last month, Fog City Diva and author of In the Thrill of The Night (which is on my ‘To Buy’ list), Candice Hern pondered over historical cover designs and illustrated the evolution of cover designs with many good examples. She also asked …

Do these cover types influence your perception of a book? Do certain covers intrigue you enough to pick up a book even by an unknown author? And how do you feel about the fact that even though we’ve returned to pictures of people, they don’t give you a full image with face etc? What does that say to you, as a reader, about the book?

Quite a few readers professed a dislike for clinch covers while some won’t let cover designs influence their decision. I’m one of those who rarely buy books based on cover designs, preferring to rely on synopsis or recommendation.

Still, it’s pretty amazing when I put those three books them side by side. It somewhat tells you what books I tend to pick, subconciously, even though I’ve bought the above three on the authors’ reputation and friend’s recommendation.

I’m wondering if the publishers and designers simply pick up on a trend and follow it, like the recent releases with body parts (e.g. the use of a lady’s hand on Candice’s In the Thrill of the Night and Liz Carlyle’s One Little Sin and Two Little Lies) . Of course, there are slight variations to differentiate the works of different authors. Still, the similarity can cause one to experience a sense of deja vu.

This makes me wonder why must publishers have fixed ideas about what romance readers would like and what they won’t in a cover? Do cover designs always have to follow a successful formula? What would the publishers do when they run out of body parts and other ideas? Rehash old design ideas (God forbid the return of clinch covers!) ?

For example, I like how Piaktus used a black matt background with spot varnish – they give the cover a very nice texture – and stylised font types for Amanda Quick’s Wait Until Midnight and The Paid Companion:

They are a refreshing departure from the covers of earlier prints which depict objects (one’s the bust of a Greek goddess, the other a pocket watch) in a very predictable setting:


It also makes the marketer in me wonder why must books always be promoted in the same way — author signing, book talks, interviews and launches?

As a reader, I would like to see publishers and book marketers push new boundaries in launching and promoting the books. I don’t know what’s being done in the states and elsewhere, but over here on this tiny red dot on the world map, I’d like to see fresh ideas/ methods other than book signing, author appearances.

I thought the Authors at Sea event was one of the greatest idea to come along in a long while. Other ideas could be poetry recitation (e.g. for Teresa Medeiros’ After Midnight, the recitation could run along the line of vampire related ones or others from the Byron’s contemporary since his vampire poem is quoted in the book), a fashion show inspired by Georgian or Regency themes, readers’ art or other talent contribution (song, poem, skit, games).

So there, I’m throwing down the gauntlet and challenging the publishers and marketers to come up with fresh ideas to promote books. If you’ve seen how comic fans (adults included) go to all lengths to dress up for Cosplay, you’ll know what I mean.


6 thoughts on “Cover Design Deja Vu?

  1. ag says:

    P.Devi – are you referring to those books with fan-art like covers ala DeviantArt? I love those! They’re cool!

    kristie – I don’t mind the stepback covers. It’s when they insist on having a back cover at the back instead of the synopsis. That turns me off.

    However, there were a few with those that I made an exception for, and one of them is Something About Emmaline by Elizabeth Boyle. I ignored the cringe-y back cover and bought the book for the story, which I’d read about on her site.

  2. I’m back now to discuss the cover design. Glad it’s still here ’cause it took longer than I thought.

    “I’m wondering if the publishers and designers simply pick up on a trend and follow it,”

    I think that’s exactly it! They find a cover design that works and then (IMO) overuse it to death! For example when the half-head covers first came out I thought they were neat – but now I’m so tired of them. I’m sure it won’t be long before the hands and arms are as tiresome as the half-head people.
    I’m a reader who is influenced to a certain degree by covers. When I see good ones, I’m much more likely to buy them then the (now) tired half-heads.
    The very worst covers though are from Avon. Even if they have a great cover, they have to spoil it by having a clinch cover back cover or inside cover *see Devil in Winter.
    And you know who I think has the best covers these days? Harlequin Historicals. They have some really great ones.

  3. I’m one of the ones who is always more attracted to covers with people on the covers.

    For a while, when big name authors just had objects like ribbons and posies of flowers on their books, the covers were so bland to me that they didn’t affect my purchasing decisions at all (which is a waste of publisher money then.)

    I bought the Linda Winstead Jones witch books solely because I liked the cover art.

  4. ag says:

    Hi Kristie,

    I followed Angie’s lead to Amir’s Blog and followed his instructions.

    After I’ve inserted the ‘span class’ tags, I go back up and link the words read on to the permanent link of the post. Hope I’m making sense.

    Hi Cindy, I was quite intrigued by Fat Chance – the cake and cream writing is definitely a departure from your usual romance cover.

  5. Ahhh, now I know why I get confused at the bookstore! I can never tell which Devil book I have so I don’t buy any and now I see that they are by two different authors. I think that having Foley’s two book be so close in image would be confusing to those not familiar with her work. Even those who are waiting for her next book might now realize that that is the one! It would be interesting to know how her second book sells.

    I have discovered that book covers outside the romance genre do influence my buying. That is why I bought Calamity Jane and I was glad I did. Now, I have Fat Chance which I am trying to slog through. Live and learn when buying outside of romance!

    Oh, and I bought Liz Carlyle’s One Little Sin for the cover. I have no idea what the book is about but I can only hope that I enjoy it.


  6. OK – how did you do that???? How did you get the rest of the blog in the read on part? I’ll be back to answer the othe part of your post later but do you know how long I’ve been trying to do that??

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