Laura Resnick has posted this 5-part article about cover art that was originally published around 10 years ago. It is a fascinating and troubling look into cover art and its importance to a writer’s success. A writer’s career can be made or unmade by cover art, and they have very little control over it – of course do they have any true understanding of the market and how it works?
As interesting as it is, I have to think that this article is out of date. As I say here, cover art has almost no impact on my buying a book (the title is probably most important to gaining my initial interest). Either I’m very rare, or I reflect a new trend in the market. This is the world of the internet, on-line buying, blogs, endless reviews of books easily accessible with a computer, and fewer and fewer actual book stores (and it seems that more often they actively hide everything but the best sellers).
I believe that publishers, art directors, and marketers need to give us readers a bit more credit when it comes to cover art, and realize that to us end purchasers – the cover may actually be the last thing we see when we choose to buy a book. The buyers for the big bookstore chains need to get with the times as well – STOP JUDGING BOOKS BY THEIR COVERS! The out-dated model of reliance on cover art may be a reason for declining sales of books (among others of course). Work on a good title, a good jacket description, get the book out for reviews in traditional and non-traditional sources, and good cover art – but remember, in an on-line world, it’s the words that matter.
It’s a whole new world out there and I believe its past time for some evolution here…
…but what do I know, I’m just a guy who buys a lot of books.