Craptastic covers... what are your pet peeves?

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knight_tour
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Re: Craptastic covers... what are your pet peeves?

Post by knight_tour » February 27th, 2010, 7:57 am

I love cover art and do judge books by their covers. It's rare but I have even bought some books solely due to the cover art. It really bothers me that authors don't get much if any input on their cover art.

I really dislike most fantasy cover art that I see. It is overly colorful and unrealistic. I love the few covers Alan Lee has done, especially the Iron Tower trilogy by McKiernan. He does the color scheme so wonderfully and his figures, landscapes and architecture look realistic. If I could hire him and afford him, I would use him for all my cover work. I keep trying to hire artists who can mimic Lee's style, but it hasn't worked so far.

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Re: Craptastic covers... what are your pet peeves?

Post by Kaitlyne » February 27th, 2010, 8:06 am

I don't like covers where the author's name takes up half of the cover, usually replacing a cool picture or the title. I'm not sure why, that's just always bugged me. I've seen a few badly photoshopped covers as well, but for the most part the name thing is probably my biggest pet peeve.

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Re: Craptastic covers... what are your pet peeves?

Post by Pete » February 27th, 2010, 10:25 am

how did your publisher take it when you told them you had already hired your own artist for your cover?
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Re: Craptastic covers... what are your pet peeves?

Post by Scott » March 1st, 2010, 4:40 pm

I'd like to add that I strongly prefer flat matte finishes to glossy.

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Re: Craptastic covers... what are your pet peeves?

Post by FK7 » March 1st, 2010, 7:56 pm

Scott wrote:I'd like to add that I strongly prefer flat matte finishes to glossy.
+1 here.
Especially on hard cover editions with dust jacket.

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Re: Craptastic covers... what are your pet peeves?

Post by JilltheImpossible » March 1st, 2010, 8:48 pm

I hate when covers rip-off the look of book covers that are already popular. Working at a bookstore, I've seen a ridiculous amount of Harry Potter and Twilight rip offs. Have some originality people!

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Re: Craptastic covers... what are your pet peeves?

Post by mmcdonald64 » March 14th, 2010, 8:41 pm

My pet peeve is when the main character on the cover doesn't look at all like how I envision them. For instance, the seventh book in a series is coming out next month, Victorious, by Jack Campbell. Throughout all the previous books, the main character, Jack Geary, is never physically described, so I had created my own picture of him in my head. Covers of the books had somewhat generic looking characters in spacesuits. I think the first one (which caught my attention and made me read the book) had a man in space gear, but he was alone and in shadows. Kind of mysterious. Well, the book that's about to come out has a young blond Nordic appearing Jack Geary. Nothing wrong with that, but I'd pictured a dark haired older looking guy.

I created a cover for my book because I had chapters uploaded to Authonomy and you need some kind of bookcover there. Generic ones are available, but who wants that? lol. I'm not a graphic artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I did have a sketch of my protaganist that I'd done. I uploaded it to photobucket, used their editor to add a nightvision effect, then used MS Paint to add a sniper's crosshairs to it. I think it looks cool, but I also know that it doesn't look like a polished bookcover. (if anyone wants to see it, it's on the second page of my blog which is linked at the bottom of the post.)

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Re: Craptastic covers... what are your pet peeves?

Post by lightelement94 » March 20th, 2010, 11:24 pm

Anything overly posed; if it's a genre (like fantasy) that you can't photograph without making it look natural, I'd rather they go for a setting or a motif or something not character-related that could be done well.

Lately I've seen an influx of Photoshop brush embellishments on covers. In graphic design (in my humble opinion) this usually seems to be done to cover up a lazy composition, and it doesn't seem any different on covers. David Clement-Davies' brilliant anthropomorphic novel Fell not only had swirls splashed over its (otherwise awesome) cover, it had the obviously photoshoped vector touches all over its title page, and chapter headings. The new covers of Alison Croggen books are a bit like that, too.

And this series' covers:
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Re: Craptastic covers... what are your pet peeves?

Post by wilderness » March 30th, 2010, 9:08 pm

Wow. That's a terrible cover. Poor Charlaine Harris!

My understanding is that authors don't have a lot of input into the cover and that you should trust the marketing team.

On the other hand, I have seen covers that are quite awful. One pet peeve is when they don't accurately portray the character, like using a Caucasian instead of a minority figure, or using a thin girl when the book is about a plus-sized girl. Other covers are simply lacking in artistry...it's hard to define but you know it when you see it.

I have to say, I like the original Twilight covers. I find them gothic and intriguing. But all the rip-offs are ridiculous. Do publishers think they can just steal the cover and have a best-seller?

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Re: Craptastic covers... what are your pet peeves?

Post by ganstream1 » April 1st, 2010, 5:19 am

The cover design by Blacksheep-UK for Matthew Reilly's Scarecrow...

It's so Jason Bourne.
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Re: Craptastic covers... what are your pet peeves?

Post by A.M.Kuska » April 4th, 2010, 6:38 pm

I'm so sick of seeing all those stupid YA covers so common you can't tell one from the other. The pink cover with the blue jeans on it. The yellow one with the scarf. The photo of some persons eyes/mouth/fooot. >.< I don't even pick those up.

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Re: Craptastic covers... what are your pet peeves?

Post by mmcdonald64 » April 5th, 2010, 10:16 am

Same here, A.M. Kuska. In fact, any overly bright cover with goofy fonts that are supposed to mimic handwriting, scream chick lit to me and I pass them by without looking. However, those who love chick lit are probably looking for that exact type of cover so they can zero in and easily find what they are looking for. So, I guess there is a rhyme and reason to the kinds of covers certain genres tend to have.

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Re: Craptastic covers... what are your pet peeves?

Post by Margo » April 7th, 2010, 6:28 pm

I hate fantasy covers that make the characters look like they came from an early D&D manual or a 1970's cartoon, like He-Man or the Thundercats. Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time books are an example of this for me. I hope that if I sacrifice enough ink and paper to the publishing god, I'll be rewarded with something like the cover of Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey. A Dresden Files-style cover would make me happy, too. I wonder what I'd have to sacrifice for a Michael Whelan cover? Probably a limb or two, but...really...would they have to be my limbs? Hm...
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Re: Craptastic covers... what are your pet peeves?

Post by Emily J » April 7th, 2010, 6:38 pm

Have to agree with Margo on this, bad fantasy covers are the worst things out there. The Wheel of Time ones are terrible! The male characters are like blurry neanderthals.

Really terrible covers tend to put me off the book. Which is depressing, but there it is. I bought one book from an author who I talked to. He seemed like a nice sort of fellow so I picked up a copy of the book. The cover could only be described as Ming the Merciless wearing a rip-off Star Trek uniform (Original show too) grasping a ray gun. It's so god awful. I almost want to post a picture but I would just feel bad. The book wasn't bad! And I would never have picked it with that terrible cover.

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Re: Craptastic covers... what are your pet peeves?

Post by Sommer Leigh » April 9th, 2010, 12:08 am

I'm kind of tired of the covers with legs, particularly the ones that seem to be hanging from the top edge of the cover, defying gravity. And feet. And pretty much the whole chopped up body part thing.

I think I prefer book covers that set the tone for the book, and I can't imagine what dangling legs could bet setting up for me. I prefer illustrated covers to photographs of random girls/boys/body parts, especially when they don't resemble the characters much. I like stark covers with dynamic titles. (I LOVE the cover for "How to say goodbye in robot" bye Natalie Standiford though I don't know if the pink background will put boys off to buying it or not.) I like book covers that set the stage for what's inside, for example The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi has one of the best book covers like this. I don't even need to read the back flap to know what it's like to get lost in this book.

Also, I do judge books by their cover, whether I mean to or not. I have picked up books in the store because I saw their awesome covers and had to have them, even before reading what the book was about. (The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff is one such book. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson is another.) Likewise, if a cover turns me off, or confuses me, or makes me think of things that I'm not interested in, I might not take the time to find out what the book is about. For example, for almost a year after The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins had come out, I'd kind of ignored the book in stores and when bloggers I knew commented about it because the cover made me think it was a Russian history/spy book. Swear to God. I had no basis for this idea, except that the font had sort of a soviet feel to it, and the symbols on the cover made me think "Code." Made me think "Spy." And I wasn't really into it. When I finally broke down and checked it out, I was blown away by how much I loved it and its sequel. As it turned out, it had nothing to do with the Russians or spies. It wasn't the designers fault, of course. There was no way he/she'd have known my brain would make Russian spy connections when I saw it.
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