Monday, September 21, 2009

Book Covers

Vicki posting today. Saturday I was at the Lyndhurst Turkey Fair, a traditional small town fall fair, selling books. My friend the fantasy writer Violette Malan (The Storm Witch) was next to me, and I had been admiring her book covers. Fantasy covers tend to be all of a type – a realistic picture of the character or characters in full action mode. Violette explained to me that the artist had used actors to pose for the paintings. The same two actors have been used for all the covers so far, so there is continuity between them. The actors on the book covers are intended to be the characters.

It occurred to me that you don’t see that in crime novels. On Saturday, I couldn’t think of a single mystery book that has an actual representation of the main character on the cover. Sure there are often other people, or pieces of other people, like the generic creepy eyes, or a shot of a person walking away into the fog, but rarely, if every, anyone who is identifiable. Gold Digger, the first in my Klondike series, has a full sized drawing of a woman, facing forward, on the cover. She is not actually supposed to be Fiona, just a woman of the era, although I suppose she could easily be mistaken for Fiona.

Then yesterday Jeri’s lovely cover for The Serpent in the Thorns arrived, and it has a picture of what I presume is the main character, Crispin Guest on the cover, with Crispin in some sort of action pose.

So, I am left wondering if The Serpent in the Thorns is an aberration or is this the beginning of a trend in mystery publishing. And if it is, is it something we want to see? Do you want to know what your favourite characters look like?

I prefer to use my imagination.


Rick Blechta said...

What about my novels, sweetheart? A Case of You, for instance?

I'm hurt and will spend the rest of the day sulking...


Vicki Delany said...

Oh, uh, yes. A Case of You was so ground breaking that it ruined my thesis so I deliberatly left it out. That's it. Right.

Charles benoit said...

I want a cover designed by Frank Frazetta.

Jeri Westerson said...

well, my book covers, I think, are a new look for medieval mysteries. My editor wanted, and I agreed, on a sort of urban fantasy kind of look, being a medieval noir, a new subgenre. We'll see if it pans out to grab more attention than the standard medieval mystery cover. Personally, I like it.