Monday, February 27, 2017

Judging a Book by Its Cover

By Vicki Delany

We talk a lot about book covers here at Type M for Murder because Rick Blechta is a cover designer (and an extremely good one, if you’re looking to have some work done). He knows what’s good and perhaps more importantly what is not good.

But aside from being good, or not, a cover needs most of all to be appropriate. The cover is the contract the author extends to the reader. The cover should reveal the mood of the book, something of the setting maybe, certainly the genre or subgenre it falls in.

Think of a photograph of the US capital lit up at night, or Kremlin square in the rain. You’re expecting a thriller, something dark and world-threatening. Now think cats and books and comfortable arm chairs, maybe a cup of tea. What you are expecting is a cozy. And if serial killers break out, the reader is going to be darn disappointed. Maybe even angry.

Simple choice of colour can be a strong clue. Baby blue means “women’s fiction” (whatever that is) and light purple or violet is romance.

Most publishing houses know this. Unfortunately a lot of graphic artists, who are not book cover designers, do not. And a lot of self-published books are being put out there with totally inappropriate covers.

I’m not going to insult anyone by giving you examples of what I mean, but I am sure you’ve seen plenty.

Last time I told you about two totally different books I have coming out in the next few weeks. Have a look at the cover images, and you’ll realize that you don’t need much of description from me.

Blood and Belonging is set in a tropical paradise. A luxury hotel sitting on what’s been voted many times as the world’s best beach. But the colours chosen for this cover give you another side to the Caribbean paradise.

Here is what I consider perhaps to be the best book cover of all time. Talk about establishing mood and setting. It's just about perfect.

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