I’m a cover critic! I DO judge a book by its cover. That doesn’t mean a bad cover stops me from reading a book. No way! And, except for #2, all of these CAN be done well. Here are some not-so-good examples.
1. Removing a lovely, evocative, cover for bad black and white photos.
When I think of a British public school in the era of World War I and beyond think of I think of be-gowned masters and suited boys and cricket and rugby and rowing and Latin and silly hats and saying “Sir” every third word. I can hear Jerusalem just looking at it (even though it was just being birthed as a song at this time)! But slum boys playing dice (or whatever) ?? An urchin squatting on the ground in an old sweater? Pass the smelling salts, fast!
Horrible, what’s been done to this author’s lovely books and their beautiful covers. A car chopped off at the top over soldiers of a by-gone era. Was the artist joking?? The woman posed in front of American law books, with lips like a common tart?? Wt?? Dreadful. Another favorite author of mine, Herman Wouk, has had his books debased by this trend as well.
2. Author branding covers done blandly or badly
While this example is a trilogy, others are different stand-alone books done this way, to tie all of the works of one author together. These suck the life right out of the work! No clue what this could be about or why anyone would pick one up. Just awful.
Q must create a gadget to fix these dreadful Bond covers! The originals were hideous too, but these are their own circle of hell.
These just scream book rack at Wal-mart. What a disservice to such a talented author!
3. Movie or TV tie-in covers
Is there a more cringe-inducing way to ruin a book than to slap on a movie or tv-tie in cover? UGH.
4. Vintage-y, throw-back covers
These are also pretty much a type of branding given that the biggest Steinbeck titles have been reissued in these covers. There are much worse examples out there, believe me. It’s a hot trend in covers today.
5. Nothing at all like the story
This cover is an even better example of a terrible title added to a terrible cover. At first glance, you could easily mistake this for an Amish or prairie romance series. Unless you read it, you’d not know it’s excellence historical fiction based on the life of John Bunyan and the reign of Oliver Cromwell!! The Preacher’s Bride.
Who would guess, looking at this mess, that one of the all-time great American novels (yes, it is very racists, yes it is very demeaning –it is a product of it’s time. No I do not endorse the racism or of EVER writing anyone in a dialect that demeaning)??? He gown almost seems Elizabethan from that weird neckline. And it takes a while to realize it IS a woman’s gown.
6. Why bother with design, just throw colors at the canvas
7. Copycat covers
I dislike the whole trend of copying the cover of a best-seller for another book. This presumes the public is so dumb they’ll buy the “wrong” book.
I’ve done a few posts on Copy Cat Covers:
Tigers in Red Weather (book) Copycat Covers
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