Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I've recently started designing book covers, so it's all I've thought about the last couple weeks. And what do you do with the stuff you can't get out of your head? You blog about it.

When we come across a book, the first thing we see is the cover. That's where we usually get our first impression of the story. Unfortunately, you really can't judge a book by its cover. Some of the best stories look awful on the outside.

Do you ever leave the dust jacket at home because you're embarrassed by how it looks? I do that all the time. There are other covers that always catch my eye at Barnes and Noble, even when I already own the books.

Here are a few favorites among the WHYA girls:

So what makes a good book cover? Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder (there's another cliché for you), but I think we can all agree that some stand out more than others. What are your favorites?



sonje said...

I really don't like photographs of real people on book covers. I do not want the imaginative work of visualizing what a character looks like done for me. I honestly feel like it steals something from me to have this face forced on me.

I like covers that are pretty simple. I prefer line drawings. Give what I've just written, you won't be surprised that, of the covers shown here, I like the Shiver cover, the Choker cover, and the Marcelo In The Real World cover. I like that last one quite a bit.

Courtney Koschel said...

I love covers that are haunting, colorful, thought provoking, etc.

Some covers that pop to mind:
Imaginary Girls is beautiful. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is creeptastic, Nightshade (the hardback) is striking, Luminous is intriguing...there are too many!

Great post, and great pics =)

Rebecca Christiansen said...

Shine is one of my favourite covers of the year so far. I also love, love, love Lola and the Boy Next Door's cover. The colours are pretty, but it just evokes the story so well. Plus I'm a huge fangirl of anything Stephanie Perkins, hee hee!

Erica said...

I definitely love all those covers - some of my other favorites are Sea, Brightly Woven, Entangled, and Paranormalcy.

I very much like when people are on the actual covers, it gives me a vision, and a lot of the time I picture the MC different than the cover aynways.

Small Review said...

I'm such a horrible cover judge. I've been led astray by a lot of beautiful covers that contained books that really weren't for me. Then again, I've passed up a lot of books based on the fact that I disliked their cover only to later discover I loved the book. If it were based on covers alone, I never would have read Harry Potter, and that would have been just horrible!

I agree, I like it when I have a HC and I can leave the dust jacket at home.

Kristan said...

GREAT selection of covers, Stephanie!!

I prefer not to see a face on a cover, but it's not a make-or-break factor for me. What bothers me more is when something becomes hot and suddenly every cover has it -- like all the girls in pretty dresses running away, or whatever.

As a design-y person, I definitely have particular tastes, but I don't know how to categorize them. I want an arresting image, I guess. (And an image can be made of typography, like with Choker!)

Like Small Review said, sometimes covers do lead me astray. For example, I would never have picked up Anna and the French Kiss with that girly cover, except that I heard so many great things about it (and they were all true!). Conversely, I won't say which one, but one of the covers Stephanie used as an example was absolutely gorgeous in my eyes, but I ended up disliking the book.

Stephanie Mooney said...

Sonje, I agree with you. I don't usually like seeing someone's face on a cover. But as a designer, I'm finding that a lot of authors actually request photographs of real people, which is really surprising to me.

Courtney, I totally forgot about the cover for Miss Peregrine's! I love that one. And I love haunting covers too.

Becca, I haven't seen the cover Stephanie's new book yet. I'll have to look it up. :)

Erica, Brightly Woven does have a pretty cover. The cover doesn't affect how I picture the MC either. If there's a movie though, I can't help picturing the actors, and it's not always a good thing.

Small review, I'm often led astray by great covers too. Then I'm disappointed when the writing doesn't live up to the design. LOL.

Kristan, I hate copycat covers as well. And I love typography-based designs!

Angelica said...

Across the Universe is something I would read because of the cover. Seeing that cover, it draws me away from everything else, and I just focus on that. It's bright and the colors are vibrant! I haven't read it yet, but I definitely would.

kaye (paper reader) said...

I've loved: The Night Circus, Entwined, Wither, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Shiver, Imaginary Girls, The Hunger Games (I adore the simplicity and the color contrasts), Hourglass.

I'm not a fan of repetitive covers either - long dresses being the big thing lately. And if you love typography covers you might want to check out Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated.

Anonymous said...

My eyes tend to be drawn to bright colors, which is why I love the covers of ATU, Imaginary Girls, and Bad Taste in Boys (those pink sugar lips in the center of gray skin).

I'm also attracted to simple covers that mainly have text (like Hannah Moskowitz's Break).

LinWash said...

A great selection of covers. Love The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Shiver, Hourglass, and Entwined. But I admit I'm ready to see a new trend beyond the pretty girl in a pretty dress trend.

Heather Reid said...

I love dark and moody covers that convey the atmosphere but don't give too much away. I also like texture. Like Kristin, I'm not that fond of having a face on the cover either. I love Shiver!

Bailey said...

I love the covers for Virtuosity, Carrier of the Mark, and As I Wake. They just have this quality to them and I would pick up the books just because of their gorgeous covers!

Stephanie Mooney said...

Angelica and Medeia, I love the vibrant colors too.

Kaye, I forgot about The Night Circus! I love that one too.

Lin, you're right. There are an awful lot of pretty girls in pretty dresses. I'm often drawn to the more graphic covers because they're different and stand out.

Heather, I agree. I love covers that convey the mood perfectly without telling you too much.

Bailey, those are some of my favorites. I love the contrast they have.

Kara said...

I have Carrier of the Mark on my bookshelf and my eyes always go to it no matter what I'm looking for. As well as The Summer I Turned Pretty books. They're not extremely amazing covers but they always make me think of summer.

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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.



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