Thursday 10 May 2012

My Opinion on YA book covers looking all the same

Now I wanted to do this post because probably for awhile now I've noticed how YA covers are all the same. Books about vampires, girl with gothic dress on. Book about werewolves girl with a gothic dress on! Books about cheese? Girl with a gothic dress on!.........wait what?!

This is how I feel when I walk into a bookstore every time. The book covers are beautiful don't get me wrong I think their stunning BUT half the time they do not have any relevance to the story itself. books like this sell because the book cover lies to us all the time. I can't tell you how many times I've picked up the book thinking its a magical gothic story (because of cover) and got home and the whole plot is like set in a junk yard.

Again people will say "these books sell" for me it's not the point! That's just an easy way, a LAZY way. You can make a book cover amazing, beautiful, catching and sellable and let it be related to the book. "why do we need to do all that when it sells the other way?" BECAUSE that's not the point. This is reading not an insurance commercial!

I've noticed and I'm sure other bloggers have that some covers are redesigned to look like others that are big sellers. Like how after twilight got it's big shoot in sales so many books came out or were redesigned to reflect the black cover with single moody image. This frustrates me. WHY. Why can't the book stand by its self? I know it all comes down to money etc. but when I pick up a book look at the quote on the cover and it says "like the hunger games" and I read it and it's NOTHING like it. You get the money for the book and I'm left feeling scammed.

Being a bookseller I cant tell you how many times some people have come into the store with YA to return because it wasn't what they wanted. I asked "what do you mean?" they say "well the book cover was just a bunch of lies and I thought it was something else" sometimes these books don't sell ladies and gentlemen. Sometimes these books get returned.  I know why they do it to sell and they are soo lovely so the work isn't bad but as a reader and seller I see the side effect of un happy reader.

One thing I will say is that contemporary covers are getting even more beautiful and defiantly relate to the story. Why cant this be done in Most paranormal instead as well.

(Book covers that are not the same as eachother)

I would LOVE to make book covers for a living. I feel like its a guy sitting behind a desk in a box room never leaving making these covers. Or even reading the books. Like he hasn't seen the YA world or the community it's created because if you did you would probably realize that it's time for a change. And 9/10 bloggers and readers would say the same. I know it.

What do you guys think? You agree or you dont? comment below and tell me what you think! :)


Anonymous said...

Yes - I pretty much agree - that's why I was really delighted with the cover for ANGEL DUST - it actually did reflect the story - and was totally beautiful. x Sarah
NB Sorry about the 'annonymous' didn't seem to have an ID for any of the other options :(

Lisa Mandina said...

I totally agree! As beautiful as these girl on the cover books are, I want the cover to have to do something with the story. Like Shatter Me, just finished, loved it! But don't get the girl on the cover. Doesn't work for me.

CarlyB said...

Totally agree, I don't even read paranormal and it still annoys me! Sad girl in a nice dress draped across the cover. Ugh. At a Walker event last year their cover designer took us step by step through how he designed the cover for Daylight Saving, it was awesome! But then I think Walker are great for unique covers that actually have relevance to the story.x

B.C. said...

The attraction is there. But more times than not, it seems the covers are relying on mass appeal rather than pegging the individuals who would actually like the story behind the cover.

And I agree with you. What author/publisher wants a bunch of returned books and angry readers? Isn't the point to reach an audience that appreciates your work? Time is best spent finding a beautiful cover that represents the work inside.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree - covers can be beautiful and relate to the story. It's a win win situation when they match!

M said...

Yes, yes, match the cover design to the story. Same goes for the blurbs.

Miranda Hardy said...

My friend and I were talking about this at the book store the other night. Too many "girls" in dresses on covers with dark backgrounds.

Donna (Bites) said...

I'm convinced this is a genre thing, centering around PNR of some sort. I don't read in that genre by default and while I see these covers they take up about .001% of the covers in my pile. My default reaction to all of these same covers has be thinking that everything's the same inside too. I'm hardpressed to read PNR to begin with but now the genre's telling me it's all the same too. Doubly no.

Talia said...

Im fed up of these girl/dress covers that are so generic. Except i have a brilliant exception Wither/Fever by Lauren Destefano they explicitly hint at whats in the book. More book covers should be like that.

Raimy from Readaraptor Hatchling said...

love this post and have to agree! It bugs me so much when all the covers look so similar… I think the thing thats most pissed me off this year is the redesign for Scot Westerfeld Uglies series… thats just ergh.
Also (after nosying at the comments others have put) I have to agree with Carly… Walker have some amazing book covers and I love how they dont fall for the race fail thing either (I'm thinking about Zoe Marriots books when I say this) it bugs me when the girls on the front covers are white when the main characters arent (and when they look nothing like what the book says they do!)

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you. I get tired of these redundant covers as well. Romance novellas are just as bad as some of the YA or the "vampire" book covers.

When I commissioned The Illustrated Author to create the cover of my novel, Someday Always Comes, which is a women's fiction/coming of age story, I went out of my way to ensure certain things: 1. There would be no men or women on the cover, and 2. There would be no moons or stars on the cover. Even though my story has tragedy, abuse, romance, and stardom in the book, I wanted to deter from models and bleeding roses on the front cover.

I will be going out of my way and once again bending my illustrator's creativity this way and that for my next book covers, which she'll also...I hope...create for me. Up next on my list is a mix of things - a poetry book, the first in a series of paranormal fantasy novels (complete with vampires, witches & other magical creatures), and a series of small paranormal/magic-related mystery novellas. When we create these covers, I want to try to avoid the usual and come up with something at least half unique.

I feel it should be the author's job, self published or not, to ensure, as much as possible, an authentic cover that relates to some of the story's elements.

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