Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Save the unicorns!

by Stephanie

Cover art is constantly a topic of discussion here—it seems like whenever a new cover draft comes in, everyone crowds around the conference table to get the first look. Judgment gets passed, fights break out. It’s a generally healthy exercise.

I have to say though, for all the times I’ve joined in on this opinion party, I’ve only ever considered these new covers in relation to the book itself. But this piece over at Orbit Books gives a different perspective by mapping out the most frequently occurring cover elements, specifically in the fantasy genre, from the past year. According to their not-so-scientific research, several newly tracked graphic elements show a strong presence in 2009, while others seem to fall off the map between 2008 and 2009. All I’ll say is this: I’m sad to see the unicorn lose the prestige it deserves, but I’m also thankful that there’s now a clear delineation between “damsels (in distress)” and “damsels (no distress).”

As I turn it over to you, I’m curious to get your opinion—why do you think certain images gain or lose popularity and therefore show up more or less frequently over the course of a given year?

2 comments:

  1. I was a little concerned at the "faceless woman" (or worse "body parts woman") trend. You know the picture I mean. The main female character only shows her hands, or her stomach, or her body but her face isn't visible. (You see this a lot in the paranormal genre.)

    I finally decided that it was marketing's way of telling me that this woman could be me. This could be my hand, body, stomach, back, because the face wasn't there to tell me that it wasn't me!

    Sadly for marketing, I have prosopagnosia, so they could have used the face and I would never have known.

    I'd rather have the whole character, including the face on the cover.

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  2. Hmmm, I don't know. It seems like readers are more interested in people/characters these days, so maybe that's why there are so many headshot covers floating around. I mean, the girls and guys on those covers are drop dead gorgeous, just like a fashion magazine or something, and that's what every teen aspires to look like. And they're interested in mysterious things (or just mysterious boys), so that would explain the hoods and smoke covers.

    Maybe. I don't know.

    But I do know that those covers look awesome, and awesome covers are awesome. They also sell, which is also awesome.

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