Jan 10, 2015

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE KIND OF COVER?

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE KIND OF COVER?

Creating a cover for The Jack of Souls was a heck of a lot of fun, but a bewildering task. What kind of cover should it have? There are so many different kinds of covers!
To make sense of the ocean of possibilities, I studied the top-selling epic fantasy novels, and identified four main categories of cover:

1: The Definitive Character Portrait




2: The Leave-it-to-the-Reader’s-Imagination Silhouette / Back View


3: The Fantasy Landscape w/ Optional Foreground Figure



4: The Fantasy Icon





A CLOSER LOOK
1 – DEFINITIVE CHARACTER PORTRAIT (single figure, close-up to medium shot)
This style is super popular right now, because it looks so good in thumbnail online.





































PROS & CONS
+ clear, definitive view of character
+ simple and uncluttered (good for thumbnail)
+ can include action and dramatic hooks
- leaves little of character's appearance to imagination
- defines race*
*I suspect covers that don't define the race of the main character--that leave race ambiguous--may appeal to a wider readership.


2) OPEN-ENDED CHARACTER SILHOUETTE OR BACK VIEW (medium shot)
This is also popular because it looks great in thumbnail and requires less work.








PROS & CONS
+ some setting, fairly simple, high contrast good for thumbnail
+ leaves character appearance and race to imagination
+ can have action and dramatic hooks
- absence of face / fewer details of appearance may provide fewer emotional hooks


3) FANTASY LANDSCAPE (long shot, optional lonely figure(s) in foreground)
This style is more common with established authors who already have devoted readers.












PROS & CONS
+ inspires dreams of fantasy setting, defines nothing of character appearance
- provides no emotional hook via characters, action or drama


4) ICON COVER (thematic emblem only )













PROS & CONS
+ defines nothing of character appearance or even setting -- the true black box cover
- provides no emotional hook via characters, action, drama, or setting
MY HYBRID

PROS & CONS
+ freaking fantastic artist, Jakub Rozalski!
+ ominous and clear fantasy landscape
+ character types defined, but individuals vague enough
to leave much to imagination

- I think we achieved a pretty good ambiguity as to the
race of the characters, but not ideal. For that you’d
need true silhouette.