Thursday, February 8, 2018

Cover Versions

Chuck D talking about album covers, "It better catch your eye because it don't catch your eyes it not gonna catch your ear." The same can be said somewhat of book covers, if the book cover is no good, you might well pass it over. Independent author Christina Miller writes, "Indie books, especially, need great covers. Covers function as short-handed way to assure the reader that the story was written with as much care and creativity as went into the cover design." Small presses need to take notice.

We get to see many great book covers but we also see our fare share of covers that aren't so good, okay, some are qutie bad. Before we jump into the bad, let's look at the wonderful. First are the books published by the now defunct 280 Steps.

As I've written before, the 280 Steps' covers bring back the spirit of Saul Bass’ movie posters such as Vertigo and Anatomy of a Murder.  One of the problems with these covers was that 280 Steps rarely gave credit to the artists who designed the covers.

A book cover can even inspire an author to write a book. In an interview here at  Do Some Damage, Chris Irvin talked to Scott Adlerberg about how a piece of artwork by Matthew Revert.

...I bought a cover from Matthew Revert. The cover—which is the cover for Ragged, however it had a placeholder title of “Cork Warrior”—had gone unused from one of Revert’s previous projects that went in a totally different direction. I’m a huge fan of Revert’s work, and when I first saw it I was totally taken by each element – the (to me) anthropomorphic dog, the light blue of the falling snow, the worn cover style, etc.

So what happens when bad covers happen to good books. In my review of Marietta Mile's May, I wrote:
... can we talk about that cover, that god-awful cover May is stuck with? A book this excellent deserves a cover equally as compelling. I believe the current cover is doing a disservice to Miles and her book as a cover is supposed to appeal, to repel.

This cover of May is plain cheesy, it doesn't capture the spirt of Miles' book, and, worse, I think potential readers could pass the book by because the cover is not appealing. Sadly, these aren't the only bad cover recently released by Down & Out Books, here is Angel Luis Colón's Meat City on Fire.

The subtle image of the building behind the fire just didn't do it for me, whatever it is.

But let me clear up one thing, the folks at Down & Out do put out some great covers along with some equally great books. Here are two recent covers from Down & Out I loved.

Everyone is allowed to have a bad day, but if you are a publisher, please spend the time and money to put out a cover that is attractive. If you are paying for any type of editing, pay for a good cover designer as well. And, if you are an author and you are presented with a bad cover or one that you don't like, you have got to start saying no.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those are great covers, there. Love the Bodenheim.