Thursday, January 24, 2008

Book Covers

As many of you have noticed, I have a poll on the left side of my blog page asking which of my Dragons in our Midst/Oracles of Fire book covers is your favorite. I'm keeping it there for about another week, so please cast your vote if you haven't already.

Circles of Seven is the clear leader, which is no surprise to me. It's also my favorite, but as I study the results and note the second and third place covers, I noticed that the top three covers all have a scene that includes a clear and present danger. Tension is high. While they all evoke curiosity and intrigue, it seems that people like scenes that make you think the hero had better do something right away, or the consequences will be terrible.

What makes a book cover appealing? What makes you want to pick it up and see what's inside? Is it danger? Colors? People's faces? Beautiful scenery?

Regarding immediate danger, when I saw the cover of L.B. Graham's book Shadow in the Deep, I immediately wanted to know what the story was about. Although my writing schedule kept me from reading it, my eldest son assures me that it's great.

Regarding colors, check out the cover of Wayne Thomas Batson's new pirates novel, Isle of Fire. The artwork gives us a blend of beautiful colors and dark shades, and the danger element is there, as well. Definitely a lot of intrigue. Anyone who picks it up knows he's about to embark on a danger-filled adventure.

Contrast that to the cover of my novel Beyond the Reflection's Edge. Colors are intentionally muted. No imminent danger. Yet it still gives a sense of intrigue and makes people curious. With the reflected hand, the city skyline at the bottom, and the musical score in the background, the cover gives us plenty to think about.

And when I think about the covers that are coming, I get excited about the potential reaction. I saw a preliminary cover for the fourth book in my Oracles of Fire series, The Bones of Makaidos, and I know that some of my readers are literally going to squeal when they see it. It shows something my readers have been wondering about for almost three years.

So, tell me. What kind of book cover appeals to you? Can you think of a particular cover that you think is great? What made you pick it up? What cover disappointed you? Maybe it promised something the book didn't deliver.

Let's talk about it.

17 comments:

Pais Charos said...

My favorite is still the Enoch's Ghost cover! Guess I'm in a minority there...

Well, lately any books I've picked up has been because of recommendations, or because I've met and/or know the authors, like you, Wayne, Christopher, and Sharon. I can't really say I've picked up a book because of the cover, but I have loved the covers of all.

There was one book that I picked up in the library a year or so ago. It wasn't the cover that caused me to pick it up, but it was the synopsis. But the book did not deliver. It was labeled "Youth", but was full of inuendos and immorality, and I didn't get past the first chapter. I don't even remember the title...

Christian_Fantasy_Adict said...

I'm holding out for Last of the Nephilim. The circle of light or whatever that is there really grabs my attention. Circles of seven is my second though. I can't wait for The Bones of Makaidos. The Binding of the Blade is a really good series.

S. J. Deal said...

I like the cover of Candlestone the best out of your covers. The Circles of Seven is the one I liked the least, but that's just me. (Although I did immediately wonder upon seeing it the first time. "What happened?")

The first time I saw L. B. Graham's book covers I thought there was something familiar about them, turns out the artist did some of R. A. Salvatore's book artwork, which I encountered when making a wish list on Amazon or when I was trying to find out who he was after a friend mentioned him or something like that. His books don't seem to be something I find I like enough to actually buy, but then I only read a few excerpts on his website so who can tell. Seems to be a secular writer at any rate. Despite that, some of his book covers do have that "What's this about?" effect.

For me, probably the worst cover design is that of one designed like a movie poster with all the characters faded into the cover in some place or other. (Like the Narnia or Lord of the Rings DVDs) It might make a nice movie poster but it just doesn't work on a book so well. (Most of the time.)

I think it's a combination of a number of factors that draws us to a book cover. The colors is what drew me to Jeffrey Overstreet's Auralia's Colors, which I'm not really liking that much now that I'm reading it. But I did learn the lesson of a good book cover which is definitely something I'll want to keep in mind if I ever attempt to be published.

As for the danger, along with the colors, I think that's what (along with the fact it's about pirates) drew me to Wayne Thomas Batson's Isle of Swords.

Sometimes I'm just drawn to a cover for strictly personal reasons, such as a person or object on the cover reminds me of someone or something I'm personally familiar with.

And like pais charos said, sometimes it's just you're familiar with the author of the book.

The Writer said...

Ooh. My favorite cover won! I wonder what the cover will show. My guess is on Bonnie, present day. That could very well answer a long-standing question of mine.

fire phoenix said...

R.A. Salvatore's The Cleric Quintet diappointed me. With the dragon and everything on the cover, I thought it would be a great read, but I found it basically just weird.

Jessica said...

When I saw "Beyond the Reflections Edge" I assumed it was a non-fiction book that you were writing (just by glancing at it).
Just proves that old saying "don't judge a book by a cover" ^-^

Araken said...

I shall make my stand with the cover I voted for. Now, if I can only remember what cover I voted for...

bookworm_for_god said...

Yes, my FAVORITE book cover is winning!!

You were very right, Mr. Davis, everything you mentioned about the cover of a book draws people to it. Not everyone, but a lot.

The Circles of Seven book drew me not only because of the colors and danger, I was actually really concerned for the main part. If Bonnie really died then what would happen to the rest of the books? If she did (she was ONE of my many favorite characters) I would have been entirely devastated. My favorite series would be gone down the drain. Because of Billy and Bonnie's great friendship, which kept the whole book alive with their dealings and tests about their abilities and relationship with God.

I love all of the DIOM and OOF books. They're awesome! THEIR COVERS ARE AWESOME (haha). I cannot wait until we see the fourth book cover for OOF.

Sapphira Adi said...

I voted for Enoch's Ghost cover because it has my favorite character on it:) Sapphira, of course! Plus the colors are really neat and make it stand out. I love all the covers, though. It was really hard to choose:)

God bless you!

Sapphira Adi

Nuntius said...

I actually didn't care for the Circles of Seven cover... so I guess it's good that I don't judge books by their cover. (My bible has a really boring cover!).

Roheryn said...

I haven't voted yet *sheepish grin*
I can't Decide! I like them all!!
As to drawing me in... somtimes 'tis the title, sometimes the cover
One cover that I really LOVE is for The Deed of Paksennarion, but I don't reccomend it for younger readers

Jessica said...

araken, I know what you mean ^-^
I can't remember which cover I voted for either.
hmmm....

Riedar144 said...

I think there a number of things that can draw us as reader into a book. Title can work, as previously mentioned, as well as the different attributes of the cover as well as possible personal connections to the apparent topic. These however, have already been stated. liking a specific author also has a lot to do with it, yet I would say it is not necessarily the best judge, as I know from experience. In elementary school, I enjoyed reading K. A. Applegate's "Animorphs" series. She seemed to be a great author. Later, I found another series that she had written, the "Remnants" series. Throughout the first book I enjoyed it very much, until I read the first half of the second book. The series began to get really weird, and I knew from my faith that I should stop reading it. Not necessarily that it was trying to combat my faith, but it was a serious case of sci-fi taken way too far.

Everything I've read of Mr. Davis's I have been thoroughly pleased with though, and I aspire to write as well as he does.

On the subject of the vote, my favorite cover is also in the lead, "Circles of Seven". Not only did I enjoy the books cover the most, seems how you immediately wonder what is happening and why a dragon looks as if it wished to harm Billy and Bonnie, as well as Bonnie is apparently 'dead', but I also loved the book the most out of what I have read so far. The spiritual battle involved in the book hit really close to home for me.

Riedar144,
hopefully soon-to-be author of 'DragonChild' (if it retains that name)

Bryan Davis said...

Thank you for the comments Riedar. I'm grateful for your kind words.

It seems that Circles of Seven will win easily, but I'm looking forward to posting a new poll when the cover of The Bones of Makaidos is revealed. It might cause a shakeup in the votes.

narnia365 said...

I think covers with action and mystery make people pick up a book. I know I can say this for myself... the reason I wanted Bryan Davis's books to begin with was because of the cover. I think covers with movement and an aged look catch peoples eyes (at least they catch mine.)

Shadow said...

I voted for Circles of Seven, but the Candlestone and Enoch's Ghost are close seconds...I've been wanting to read L.B. Graham's books for quite some time now..

Zojo said...

I guess that sometimes judging a book by its cover can be a good thing.

I really never really thought of the fact that by looking at the cover of a book people would decide to read it or not. Lately I've been trying to make a cover for my book that might catch a glance or two...I have over 30 different sketches...and none of them work!

Now that you've pointed out that people like covers with adventure, dangers, ect... It's back to the drawing board for me!

Thank You!