Thursday, May 23, 2013

Winner! and some thoughts on YA covers

Thanks to everyone who shared their favorite YA novel covers. There were a few repeating titles on the lists and some books I've never heard of before but now want to read because the covers rock. The lucky commenter to win a $20 Barnes and Noble giftcard is...Cortney Pearson! Congratulations.

I've been thinking about book covers lately. You might have heard about Maureen Johnson's Coverflip. Do you think publishers try to target a certain gender readership, and more importantly, do you think they should? Does it create stereotypes? Are boys really that embarrassed to be caught reading a book with a girl on the cover? And if so, should we make covers that are more universal or teach readers to be less critical?

I've also noticed a lot of readers don't like people on covers and prefer more abstract images or scenery. I do like people on covers because it's usually the characters I'm drawn to first in a book, but agree with those who are upset when that person on the cover is not how they imagined him/her at all. Which is why I think the backside view is so popular right now.

What kind of book covers do you prefer?

Speaking of covers, I wrote a short story a couple of years ago about a murder mystery writer and had so much fun coming up with titles for her books. Well, for Mother's Day, my 13-year-old daughter surprised me with covers she designed for each of those fake books. Best. Gift. Ever. My husband filmed my reaction...I was crying from laughing so hard, and I hope that video never makes it out of his camera phone. But I would love to share what she came up with. I think she did a pretty awesome job. :)

 























15 comments:

Sheena-kay Graham said...

I do believe there is a gender bias but I think still that we girls do get more attention because we buy more books. Look at videogames. It's a male fueled arena because more men buy games. So guess what fellas? We get cover dibs. Want more masculine covers? Buy more books and make publishers notice. No major publisher is going to change their design to better literacy. They're doing it to better sales. Authours like Jessica Sorrenson use girly covers and cashes in with self publishing (and has even turned some of them into traditional published books). No one can tell her to change her book covers just to add some guys. So in the end while I think guys are marginalized they did that to themselves. I don't want covers like Throne of Glass by Sara J. Maas changed just because a guy can't take a badass girl on the cover. Get over yourself dude. I'm certain you don't want Halo game covers with your big bad shooters having picnics or picking flowers. So there.

And unto the back flip. Oh I love this view! I've been planning to use it for one of my novellas if I put a female on the cover. I think it keeps the beauty and a person on the cover without overwhelming the reader with a set look for the character they love so much. Whether it's objects or people I love a really good cover and go nuts over a great one.

Your daughter is awesome! She should start a business with this talent. My faves are Submurged in Paradise, Holiday Hanging, Pieces of Me and Frozen in Time. Each of these caught my attention and held it.

My least are The Best of - which also had a way too plain font that also killed some of the goodness in Starvation Time and Shotgun Wedding - and Dying Reflection. They just don't do anything for me and I think the plain black or too dark simple image is going out. She did a better job with dark backgrounds with Pieces of Me which mixed in some light and an interesting take with the puzzles to get me curious and Burning Desire with the match and the smoke swirling around.

Hope my opinion helps and enjoy your day you two.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That was really cool of your daughter to do that!
The genres I read (science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, etc.) often don't feature people on the cover. I don't mind if they do, because that gives me a point of reference for the character. The covers I like have rich artwork, capturing the essence of what the story is all about.
And congratulations to Cortney.

Kyra Lennon said...

Book covers fascinate me! I don't really have a preference about what's on the cover, but I do care about the effort put into it. Obviously, I mostly talking about self-published books lol. I think, if no effort has gone into making the cover look excellent, I don't believe the content inside will be any better. I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I frequently do!

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Many boys are totally to embarrassed to pick up 'girly' books. And it starts so young. My nephew read a Baby Mouse book, the Halloween one, it had an orange and black cover. He wanted to read more. Turns out the rest have pink and black covers. He wouldn't check them out from the library. And he's eight! (His mom checked them out and he did still read them, though.)

Lindsay said...

Have you read this article? An author called for cover flips of well known books. What if the book were written by the opposite gender?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/07/coverflip-maureen-johnson_n_3231935.html

ilima said...

Sheena-kay-I agree it's all about making money. I think publishers want more guy readers for their 'girl' books, though...to increase sales, and are trying to find ways to do that.

Alex-I know genre has a lot to do with the types of covers used. I'd be curious to research...

Kyra-I think we all do whether we admit it or not.

Rachel-I had the same problem with my son reading and loving Princess Academy but making me swear not to tell his friends because it has the word 'princess' in the title. :)

Lindsay-Yup. That's the article I linked to in my post. So interesting...

Kathryn Purdie said...

I love these covers! What a great gift from Emma. She's so awesome! I think a cover should truly represent the heart of what a book is--and if that's heavy on the romance side, then make it look romantic, or whatever the case may be. I hate it when movies are marketed as something that they're not. Then people end up hating them because their expectation wasn't met. I remember being so scared to go see THE VILLAGE because it was marketed as this freaky scary follow-up movie from the director of THE SIXTH SENSE. But it really wasn't that scary, which I ended up loving because I hate super scary films, but many others were disappointed because of that. Anyway, the message show what you are on the outside what you are on the inside!

Emily R. King said...

Your daughter is so amazingly talented!

I like abstract images on books a lot more than pictures or portriats of people. For example, have you seen the new Throne of Glass cover? It's so much better than the first one, which had a picture of the MC with zero assassin appeal. Really. She looked like she belonged on a Shannon Hale book...not that there's anything wrong with that. :) But you get what I mean. The new one kicks butt, exactly as it should be.

Cortney Pearson said...

Hooray, thanks so much for picking me!!!! :D I'm not sure I have a preference on book covers, actually! I guess I'm drawn to girls in pretty dresses, pretty scenery/designs or something with a cool/interesting/unusual title.

ilima said...

Katie-Great explanation.

Emily-Thanks, I think she's great too. :)

Cortney-Yay! Gift card is on the way...

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Those covers by your daughter are awesome! And how cool that she did that for you. :)

I tend to like covers that are more abstract, that leave more to the imagination. Even if the cover features a person, I tend to like it better when it's done up differently or more mysteriously, like the covers of Laini Taylor's books.

jaybird said...

Congrats to Cortney!

What a wonderful, thoughtful and very awesome gift. I love it.

Just how I am with people, I never judge a book by it's cover!

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Aww, those covers are so much fun! I love covers and I love to look at them, research them, and create them. I've noticed it depends on the genre, of course, with what I prefer. For my current favorite genre (YA contemporary), I've noticed covers can range from showing the main character to symbols. I personally like to see the main character on contemporaries, but for other genres, I don't.

ilima said...

Madeline-I thought it was so thoughtful of her. :)

Jaybird-You are such an amazing person.

Michelle-You are so talented with design that way.

Emma Todd said...

I'm glad you like the covers Mom :)