Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cover Art Link

Here is a story or review or critique of some fantasy cover art. The author compares two book covers, one good and one bad. I happen to agree with the author's assessment of these particular covers.

This puts me in mind of book covers in general. Most covers I find simply neutral, they don't impress me, but they don't repulse me. Some covers I dislike, such as Enders Game and its sequels by Orson Scott Card. Something about the lettering bothers my senses. On the other hand, I like the cover to Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. It is dark and oddly evocative.

Here are two covers I like. The first is the Chinese edition of John Scalzi's Old Man's War (Amazon link here), and the second is Blood Debt by Sean Williams.

Now, I believe that the traditional space ship floating before a planet theme has been overdone in scifi, and this seems like a default scene for any science fiction book. It gives the impression that the artist and publisher didn't bother to read the book and find an interesting scene to depict or a captive mood to represent.

The default in fantasy is the colorful picture of characters standing. If you're not familiar with this one then check out these examples, here and here, and then you'll know what I'm talking about.

I think cover art is an area where publisher's could improve. Why? Because cover art is one of the four things that get readers attention in the book store. The four things are the 1) author, 2) the cover, 3) the blurb, and 4) the first five pages (and this list is in order of importance.) You may not always have number one. And, if you don't have number four then how did the book get published? The only variables are two and three, thus the need to make them intersting.


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