Today’s Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish is Ten Book Cover Trends (or just elements of covers) I Like/Dislike.
1. Girls in ball gowns.
The Luxe and Bright Young Things series by Anna Godbersen are the worst offenders. It seems like so many books have girls dressed up in ball gowns, even if the time period states that they definitely wouldn’t be in gowns like this. I think it’s just a lazy way to show that the books are about glamorous girls. The 1920s were already super glamorous, I don’t know why they just didn’t go with flappers?
I just really don’t get it. This tells me nothing about what the book is about, and it just makes me uncomfortable to have my book staring back at me. Stop looking at me, book, I’m trying to read you! I feel like you’re judging me! I just really hate this trend.
We have two books in our library, Rot and Ruin by: Jonathan Maberry and Spirit and Dust by: Rosemary Clement-Moore whose covers both feature the color red and a giant eyeball that I sometimes get them confused at first glance and those two books couldn’t be any more different. Please get a little more creative, book publishers!
3. Girl with long hair turned away from the viewer.
I guess it is supposed to look artsy, but it looks boring to me. The ones that bother me the most are the girls standing alone in flimsy dresses in dark surroundings. It’s supposed to look super spooky and mysterious, but it just sort of makes me roll my eyes. I think it is a pretentious way of saying “look, our heroine is troubled and isolated.” It’s just not my cup of tea.
4. When books use the movie poster as a cover.
The original cover of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is so iconic what with the disembodied eyes floating over the city. The cover was so striking that it caused Fitzgerald to go back and write in the billboard with the disembodied eyes which have become a major part of the story. There’s no readon to change it, and yet of course, they released a new cover when the movie came out that was less iconic and more of an advertisement of the movie. Other books like Twilight and The Hobbit (among others) have fallen prey to the same sort of marketing techniques. It really bothers me because I feel like it cheapens the value of the book because publishers feel like they have to dumb it down in order to sell it to people who have only seen the movie. And that’s insulting to me as a reader. Just keep original book covers, please!
5. Pretty faces.
I also think it’s another cheap way to sell the books. It’s using sex and beauty to sell. What gets me is a lot of the female characters in YA novels are not really supposed to be overwhelmingly beautiful, but they are on all of the covers. It’s hard for me to imagine an average looking heroine when I’ve got a super model giving me a smoldering look on the cover of the book. And also none of these women look like teenagers, which is what I am assuming they are supposed to be. It really annoys me to no end. Please find a better way to advertise your book. If your book is good, I know you will be able to.
1. Stark illustrations.
This is the actual artsy way to be artsy. You are creating a beatiful picture with only a few colors. It’s eye-catching and usually has something to do with what the book is about. To me, it shows that the publisher is actually trying, not just slapping a pretty picture on the cover and being done with it. The covers are their own works of art. I’m much more likely to pick up a book cover that looks like this than one with a girl standing alone in a dimly-lit forest.
Interesting typography is another way to pull me in. When a cover has illustrations as well as words, the typography looks like it’s part of the art. When the cover is just the title, the typography still looks like art. They’re pretty books and it looks like something I’d be able to read AND have framed in my house. I love this trend to bits!
I think you can do interesting things with silhouettes. It has room for all the space behind them to be beautifully illustrated and it has the added bonus of not really telling you what the characters look like. You just have a general idea about them, and you’re free to picture their individual features either how you want to or how they are described in the book. I am a fan of this trend!
4. No pictures of people.
If you’ll look back, all of my dislikes have to do with people on the covers. So it stands to reason that book covers that don’t feature people have a good chance of not annoying me. Not to say they’ll be perfect all the time, but I am much more likely to like them. I like to see what artists can do when they are allowed to work in abstract or with objects. It just seems like the more challenging route to go with a YA book cover and I think it almost always looks better.
There’s a real problem in YA literature right now regarding matters of representation. Many of the books published feature white characters–which is totally okay! But that’s not the only sort of people we can write about. The world is full of diverse people of all different colors and they’d like to see themselves in books too! And not just niche interest books, but regular YA novels. And so there’s a trend of featuring books with diverse protagonists, and as a result, those protagonist are being represented on their respective book covers! It’s refreshing to see such a wide array of people represented. It makes the YA section look not so dull anymore. Plus, it is only going to encourage people of different races and ethnic backgrounds to read when they might have felt excluded before. Books should be for everyone, not just an exclusive club. So, even though these covers do feature people, I think the good they do is more important than a trend that grates on my nerves, so I will always, always, ALWAYS love this trend.
What are some trends that you like or dislike? Please leave us a comment and tell us what you think!