Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wicked Wednesday - covers

A book's cover can inspire a reader to pick it up. I know better than to judge a book by its cover, but I will pick up a book to see what the story is about if I like the cover art. I will also avoid a book if it has a cover I don't like. Oh, the power one page of a book that isn't even part of the story!

Covers of paranormal romances tend to have a particular look. Usually it's a woman - human or not - in a ready to fight pose with weapon in hand. Sometimes the hero is lurking in the background, his gaze dark and/or smoldering. Example: the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. Kate has her sword and is ready to fight, and Curran, in lion form, with his golden eyes burning into you.

There are the sexy ones. A woman in a lazy, come hither pose. Sometimes still holding a weapon or magic is sparkling from her fingertips. Not all of the woman's body is usually featured. Sometimes just the legs or everything by her head. Maybe even a silhouette. (Example: Poison Kissed by Erica Hayes.) It's common to have the hero on these types of covers locked in a passionate moment with the heroine. (Example: Play of Passion by Nalini Singh.) Or it could be the hero himself. Tall, muscular and dangerous. These men always look like they're flexing but relaxed at the same time. (Example: Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa Day.)

There are the covers with symbols: torn hearts, spread wings, fragile flowers, splashes of blood, full moons. I'm sure you could name off another dozen yourself. These ones can be very stylized. (Example: Crushed Seraphim by Debra Anastasia.)

I'm not a fan of actual photographs or something that is photoshopped on covers. I like paintings, something dark and surreal. I can be attracted by any of the types of covers I listed, but I can also be repelled by the bad ones. I wish that authors could have more control over their covers if published by a big press. One of the things I love about self-publishing is that you get to create your own. Also, I hate the pressure of having to create something so important on your own!

What are some of your favorite paranormal romance covers? What sort of covers attract you to a book?


  1. Simple, stylized, type covers. Think Twilight. I'm curious as to 'what's that all about'?

    It means more if it has something to do with the book. Think Twilight. What was that all about?

  2. I have been told that there is a whole science to designing book covers, certain colours for men, others for women. Thinking of what attracts me I'd say probably dark colours, interesting font, clever title, something that draws me in.

  3. I like the darker covers too, but I also love the quirky covers that mirror a quirky voice, such as India Drummond's ORDINARY ANGELS or Linda Wisdom's 50 WAYS TO HEX YOUR LOVER.

  4. Great post! I'm a sucker for the bright and shiny covers that stand out, they always make me read the synopsis. Most times though, I really try not to judge a book by the cover otherwise I'd miss out on some great reads. :)

  5. Interesting question! I like simple covers with symbols or painting, something that makes me start asking questions about what it means and how it connects to the content. I don't like actual people photos on the cover, suggesting what protagonists may look like - I prefer creating my on vision.

  6. Farawayeyes, I'm with you there! *LOL* I never understood those covers. A whole Adam and Eve thing with the apple? Yet it has nothing to do with the story itself. Cover Fail.

    Paul, I've read a bit about that too. I personally like dark colors and a dark theme on the cover. A clever title draws me in as well.

    Cherie, quirky covers are fun! It's hard to do, though.

    Amy, me too. Yet there's been some covers that have made me go: what the heck?!

    Pepca, that's a good point. Covers with the characters on them can taint our own visions. Though I still like seeing kick-ass women on covers ready to do battle!

  7. i don't know if this counts but i've always enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse covers purely because they're so different from all the other covers in the genre.
    And they're sparkly and bright.
    ...i just realized her covers have sparkling vampires. W.T.F.?

  8. I purchased Become by Ali Cross only because I loved the cover. I wasn't disappointed.

  9. I don't read YA Paranormal Romance, unless it's by a friend. Just a personal taste kinda thing.

    That being said, when I peruse the YA section at my local Barnes & Noble, I'm seeing a lot of the SAME kind of covers. Hot, scantily clad girl - laying with her hair all fanned out. Or sometimes a hot, scantily girl holding a weapon and ready to kick ass. Often, the covers are dark with a splash of red (a la Twilight).

    So how do book covers in your favorite genre stick out???

  10. You like the same type of artwork I do - I want rich, detailed artwork. Of course, that's fairly standard for science fiction and fantasy.
    I admit I also judge books by their covers. If the cover doesn't strike me, I won't even pick up the book.

  11. I agree--paintings are my favorites. I don't really mind a photograph but I love seeing the different artwork.

  12. I find myself drawn to covers that are dark and symbolic, I guess I don't want too much revealed. It's been so long since I bought a real book, I can't think of any current examples! Ugh, I need to go to the bookstore!

  13. I LOVE book covers. It's my deciding factor in what I buy in book form and what goes on my kindle.
    If the cover is gorgeous (Juliet Immortal - LOVED that cover) I have to have it. If the cover is "meh" then it goes on the kindle.

  14. Sarah, sparkly vampires on the Sookie books! ACK! Eric Northman needs to kill them all.

    Elizabeth, ah, another one I need to read!

    Jay, lots of scantily clad women, yup. That's how you fight evil. I want to see one dressed as a nun. The ones that stand out are lovely works of art like a Michael Whelan painting.

    Alex, I just saw you were a fan of C.S. Friedman today. Me too. I love the Whelan covers.

    TGE, artwork definitely draws me in. Of course, I think those would be the hardest covers for an author to obtain!

    Heather, you do need to get out and just browse the shelves. Lots of cool covers out there!

    Jolene, that's interesting. I'd rather have a book I like looking at on my shelves too.

  15. I like some of the Women of the Otherworld covers, and some of the Rachel Morgan covers. I know there are a ton of covers I like, but I just can't think of them right now.

  16. I adore the fantasy, illustrated covers that one look leaves you day dreaming about the world and character... Patricia Briggs covers are pretty awesome:)

  17. Shannon, I like the Otherworld covers too. I'm like you. There's so many out there, I can't remember them off-hand!

    Tania, I like Briggs' covers as well. Mercy is one of my favorite heroines.

  18. I can't stand the covers of couples embraced... actual human bodies even. I want neat, abstract or catchy covers that have something original or mystical to it. Otherwise I'm turned off and will never pick up to read the blur (unless it;s a friend's book or referred to me)
    I like covers that have a splash of cover out of the norm.

  19. Pk, there's more and more of those types of covers out there. I'm not a fan of the couples embraced either.

  20. I don't like to be able to see the whole of a person on a book cover, because then it's very difficult to imagine him/her any other way. I like abstract pictures or, if it is a real person, then just to see part of the person (this is the way I've gone with my own book covers) - that way I can still imagine them the way I want to.
    It's really cool to be in control of your own covers, but, like you said, a little scary because it's SUCH an important element!


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