Thursday, September 13, 2007

great covers, continued

Thanks for all your feedback, everyone, and please feel free to leave me a note anytime you come across a great cover in the future. I'm always interested.

I'm going to bring up GHOSTWALK by Rebecca Stott, which Amy mentioned. This book is a highbrow literary thriller with a female protagonist--once an unusual kind of book, now becoming less unusual (I have one on an upcoming list, so this conversation is just a little self-serving). I'm using this example because I find it both attractive and provocative--my question is would you buy it?

I'm particularly interested in your thoughts about the elements:

a) the image of the building
b) the text treatment
c) the frames
d) the blood spatter
e) the white prism

I'll post my thoughts as the first comment.


moonrat said...

For me, this cover is particularly successful because of the obscured building at the bottom, as well as the faded color scheme (the weathered parchment). I think the text treatment is a success, too.

I'm not a fan of the frame, but this is a personal preference, and one I go back and forth with my designer about all the time. Apparently I'm in a minority.

I'm not a fan of the blood spatter in the corner, as it seems tawdry. However, I know why it is there--the publishers were clearly struggling with category placement (oh so important for selling a book into the chains successfully) and were trying to work out a way to firmly declare this book a thriller. So I forgive.

The prism image, however, is beyond me--it is a meaningless image out of context and is, perhaps, the straw that breaks MY camel's back as far as making the cover too busy. Perhaps I would feel less strongly if there were fewer other elements.

I chose to buy this book because of the PW review as well as recommendations. I like the building image very much--enough to save the cover for me. However, I would have liked the cover better if it were the building alone.

These are my thoughts.

Kaytie M. Lee said...

I would pick up this book from a table for a closer look because of the building, but it would really have to sell me in the flap copy because the title and the blood are off-putting. It looks more like a paranormal horror story to me with the title and the blood, and I'm not all that into those, but you're saying it's a highbrow literary thriller, which I am into.

Hm. Am I the target audience? If so, the title and blood are working against a sale to me.

Too bad you can't see the little power-saving light bulb going on over my head--now I understand that much better how hard it is to create an effective book cover...

Kristin said...

I would buy it. The name of the book plus the spatter of blood across the top totally catches my eye. Plus, I like a good thriller, literary or not.

The blood, to me, does not seem 'tawdry.' The blood spatter implies to me that there will be some gnarly violence & death...bring it on!

Bernita said...

Like the building. Would like the background map to be a little more defined.
Like the choice of colors.
Am of two minds about the blood spatter - could argue it either way, depending on mood.

writtenwyrdd said...

I like the overall cover, but I am always annoyed/turned off by books that have "A Novel" on the cover. Ech. No one particular element grabs me, it's the overall picture that does the job. I'm a big picture person.

The Writers' Group said...

I bought it and loved it. Have you seen the UK cover? Gorgeous.


Jill Myles said...

I like this one a lot - at first, the blood was a little off-putting, but the more I look at it, the more it draws my eye and makes me think "Why is that there?" So it makes me want to see more. I like it. Startling enough to make me pick it up and flip.

After the bloodstain, the thing I like the best is the parchment. I really didn't notice the building specifically until you mentioned it (can you say ADD?)

Without the bloodstain, I'd walk right past it without looking. I like that element that screams "I'M DIFFERENT".

kjenkins said...

I wasn't impressed, but I think I grew up around too many of my mother's trashy romance novels. The cover says to me "I'm genre but reaching, achingly, to be something a little more literary." The blood was a turn off for me. Once I figured out what the prism was, I was a little more intrigued. I thought the building was okay, but overall the colors of the cover were way too muted. I might pick up the book to read the back, but only because I enjoy picking up random books like that.

Froog said...

Well, it conveys its message, I suppose: period + crime + artsy (+ some sort of cabalistic mumbo-jumbo, possibly, to do with the crystal).

But I find it all just terribly formulaic and cliched. I feel like I've seen a dozen indistinguishable covers like that.

A blood-spatter? Please! Does every novel with a crime theme have to have blood on the cover now?