Cover Wars – April 2013 Edition

We’ve all heard it, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”  But we CAN and we DO!  Is it fair?  Heck no!  Does it even yield positive results for us a reader?  Debatable.

One thing is clear, with so many books to choose from, we have to follow the clues at hand to determine which books will make the cut.  Like it or not, the cover is one of first and foremost hints to what lies within that book.

Whether or not the cover is a good indication of the quality and contents of the book, I really appreciate a good cover.  That is what this column is about.  So, here’s to the cover artists with my picks and rants for books being released in April!

The books and their covers are listed in our April 2013 New Release post. They are the books that were looked over with a critical eye and used for the following selections.

Cover Wars by DarthVal: April 2013

Category:  Best of the Best, The Worst of the Lot

Best Cover Worst cover
River of Stars Grace cover

Category:  You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover*

Best Cover/Least Likely Worst Cover/Most Likely
The Elite cover Life After Life cover

*The category features covers that are in direct opposition to my desire to actually read these books.

Category:  5 Honorable Mentions

Taking Eve ~ The Golem and the Jinni cover ~ Blood of Dragons cover

Fly Away cover ~ Apollyon cover

Category:  5 Bottom Feeders

Only Lycans Need Apply cover ~ The Crane Wife cover

Oath Bound Cover ~ Natural Born Angel cover ~ In the Shadow of Blackbirds cover

Category:  Random

Throwback Style+ Trying Hardest to be a Twilight Movie Poster
Protector cover Unbreakable cover

+Why do some Scifi books still adhere to a cover style from over 30 years ago? Sheesh.

Interested in why I made my choices or want to argue for your choices? 

Comment below and let’s discuss!

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15 thoughts on “Cover Wars – April 2013 Edition

  1. -For the Judge By Cover Category: I would be more likely to read The Elite because I liked the first book, the Selection.
    -Bottom Feeders made me giggle. Ok, laugh a lot. Ya got me!
    -The Protector is the eBook release of a book that’s been published a while back. Ahem! I like the old school Sci-Fi covers!!! =P
    -As for Unbreakable, it looks interesting. Though, I also thought about Twilight. LOL!!!!

  2. I’m definitely interested in finding out what you look for in a cover, why you picked those particular covers, what makes a bad cover in your view, stuff like that… It’s one of the hardest things to do for a book really.

    • That is a really big conversation, LOL. I have a background that includes graphic design and art direction. It is really difficult to say specifically that X works, but Y does not.

      Are there any particular covers about which you are wondering? In the meantime, I will address the best and worst.

      River of Stars – there are so many things to love about this cover. The use of color and lighting effects are wonderful. The artist did an excellent job of blending the visual elements of the statue, the parchment/text, and a night sky; I particularly love the how the characters transition from the parchment up the side of the cover. The artist also did a quality job of applying an aged treatment to the entire cover. The fonts are simple and not overpowering and are arranged in a way that does not take away from the cover art. The composition is well-balanced, resulting in a cover that is eye-catching and compelling.

      Grace – The concept itself is not bad, it has a bit of a True Blood vibe. Alas, it falls way short of what it is trying to achieve. There are so many thing wrong here. The font choices are simply awful; both are very pixelated and juvenile. I especially dislike that big “G” which looks like it belongs on a junior high produced Dungeons & Dragons quest. The gradients do not blend well. The hard edges on the candles scream “I just learned Photoshop and I cut these out and dropped them in!” I don’t take huge issue with composition but the big cheesy title in the middle does not work well for the layout. As for the image of the woman, while it is a bit “me too!” my main issue is the application of color on the lips. This is a small image, so it is tough to get too close of a look, but it appears that the blending along the edges is not quite as neat as it should be. It is kind of reminiscent of lipstick applied with a less than steady hand. And what is with the visibility of the teeth within? Kind of creepy.

      Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions about other specific covers.

    • Good choice. Frankly, Oathbound is bearing the brunt of my frustration for some overdone cover design elements, which include in no particular order:
      1. Underexposed photography with bad lighting
      2. Riculous overuse of lense flares
      3. Featuring an angsty looking heroine
      4. Cover poses are WAY overdone

      Now, there is also a lot that is good about this one, too. I will give it proper credit for:
      1. Good use of color
      2. Composition and layout are very nice
      3. Great fonts – the outer glow on the title is well-implemented.

      See, its about as clear as mud! LOL!

    • That is very good input, Susan. That is a fact that I think it is totally unfair to authors.

      You will notice I left author names out of the post. That was deliberate on my part because I do realize that you don’t get a choice.

      This post is strictly a commentary about cover art and marketing.

  3. It is interesting what draws people to books, though. For myself, I only glance at covers. I go straight to the words. But I know covers make an impact first for most. For some it is a recognizable brand, like the Cherryh cover above. When you think that covers used to be quite plain except for maybe some gold lettering or such, and now, as you say, it is all about marketing the product as to whether it is romance/sci fi or fantasy forex. Which is clearly obvious from most of the covers above. Truly awful covers don’t completely put me off but you wonder what people are thinking sometimes.

      • Don’t I know it. 😦
        I just grabbed the first book to hand, which happens to be Juliet Marillier’s “Wolfskin”. It has some very nice Irish Wolfhounds on it but the figures, which are presumably the protags (haven’t read it yet) are not my cup of tea at all. I guess, if I hadn’t already known the author I may not have picked it up, although anything with an irish wolfhound, since I own one, is guaranteed to make me look. 🙂
        Yes indeed covers do matter. I’ve not really asked what people think of mine. They are both very indicative of the content, although I have one lady reader who detests the second one with a passion, which I guess at least creates some controversy.

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