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.

9 comments:

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.

Amy

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?