Recently Spotted Redesigns

I feel redesigned book covers is a pretty well covered topic in the book blogging world, but I recently spotted two redesigned book covers while browsing a bookstore that I had not seen on the Internet yet, and felt compelled to share!

The Redesign I Don’t Like

breathe-annie-breatheAfter reading just the first sentence of Things I Can’t Forget, I quickly realized that I was not going to be able to read any book Kenneally has set within a 50 mile radius of where I live (you can see me explain that here), but the cover for Breathe, Annie, Breathe really caught my eye when I first saw it. I think it was the font and the illustrated clouds, so cute! Also, it seemed to be pretty clearly about running.

With the redesign, on the other hand, we have something so much more generic. The focus is more so on a romance than on the running, which is fine, but it’s not where near as creative or interesting. I’m curious if they felt they needed to make this book seem more in line with her others.

The Redesign I Do Like

landry-parkI don’t dislike the original cover for Landry Park, but I really, really like the new one. I love the dress, I like the font, and I just really like the whole feel of it. I have no idea which one is more reflective of the actual story, but this new cover definitely caught my attention in a way the first one had not.

What do you think of these redesigns? Do you agree or disagree with my assessments of them?

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Top 10 Covers That Feature an Awesome Picture + Awesome Font

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Book Cover Trends (or just elements of covers) I Like/Dislike. My favorite covers are pretty similar at least in terms of design elements, and that is that most of them feature a great picture (photograph or realistic illustration) that takes up the entire cover, and there’s awesome font over it. That may sound like a lot of book covers, but I’m very particular about what pictures I like, what fonts I like, and some include other elements like weird graphics that I don’t really love. Here are some that really stand out to me (in no particular order)…

1. These Broken Stars

GR-thesebrokenstarsJust a gorgeous picture with perfectly minimalist font.

2. The Winner’s Curse

GR-thewinnerscurseI love just how dramatic the font and the picture feel together, especially with her holding onto the R and with the font being sideways.

3. For Darkness Shows the Stars/Across a Star-Swept Sea

fordarknessbooksStars + dresses + scrolling script = beautiful!

4. The Grisha Trilogy

grisha-trilogy-coversI tend to prefer photographs or realistic pictures of people over illustrations, but The Grisha trilogy art is just beautiful!

5. The Selection Trilogy

The-Selection-collageThe font is nice, but the real stars of these covers are the dresses!

6. Splintered 

GR-splinteredThe bugs and the plants being so close to her face bothers me some, but overall still a gorgeous cover!

7. The Promise of Amazing

GR-promiseofamazingToo bad this book wasn’t met with great reviews, because the cover is so stinking cute!

8. Once Upon a Prince

GR-onceuponaprinceThis is a bit of cheat because the picture if overlaid by a graphic that the font is on, but still, it’s too pretty not to include!

9. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

GR-thestatisticalprobabilitySo much font cuteness!

10. The Noble Groom

NobleGroom_mck.inddI almost bought this book for its cover, but I learned that I could get it from the library so I refrained. The swirls on the font though! Love it!

What are some of your favorite covers with the great picture + great font combo?

P.S. For anyone who’s interested, I did decide to start a Tumblr! *nervous* Check it out if you so desire!

Book Covers and Marketing

As an aspiring writer I have to confess, I can have a half-baked idea stewing in my brain and already have the cover for the story in my mind. This doesn’t always happen, but it does happen. Something I never really considered until reading various blog posts on the subject (unfortunately I didn’t take note of which ones they were so I don’t have links), was how important the book’s cover is for marketing your target audience. I have certainly taken notice of covers I like and covers I don’t, but a lot of the covers I like are girly, and I never considered the obvious: that a guy is most likely not going to want to pick a book that looks like these:

girlycoversAnd even though these

neutralcoversare also dystopias told from a female POV, the covers are a lot more gender neutral. And while I have to admit the first three book covers catch my eye in the bookstore more than the latter three, what matters is the story inside. And if it’s a good story that guys and girls alike would enjoy, I think marketing it as such is important.

I have to admit though, I can’t imagine a better cover for Cinder. And honestly, guys probably don’t want to read Matched or The Selection anyway. And that’s OK, not every book has to be for everyone. But it made me think of think back to one of my girly cover ideas for one of my dystopia stories, and how sometimes I tend to dominate plots with romance (which I have seen bloggers complain about), and what kind of stories I truly want to tell. And I want to tell stories that can resonate with anyone; I don’t want to market to only one sex. But I know that all my stories have quite a lot of reworking and rewriting ahead of them before they see the light of day anyway, so story can be worked on. And a cover is certainly far, far away. Still, it’s important to consider the audience I would want to market to, and it’s fun to think about covers.

I don’t really LOVE the covers for The Hunger Games, Divergent, or The Testing. They’re fine, but as I said before, they don’t make me want to reach for the book off the shelf when I have no knowledge of the story. I tend to prefer people, a la these covers:

dystopiacovers2But as I was considering what actually makes a cover gender neutral I wondered, What kind of books do guys actually gravitate towards?

So I asked my husband if he was browsing in a bookstore for fun, not looking for anything in particular, what kind of cover would catch his eye?

startrekbookHe said something with a cool spaceship on it. I assume this qualifies. So while he might not be repelled against some of these gender-neutral book covers, they probably wouldn’t draw him in. Several of them don’t draw me in either. So I wondered… can pretty dresses and spaceships be combined for maximum draw to a book cover?

the-100

This was the best real-life example I could find; sci-fi look plus romance but not too swoony for  the guys. But let’s face it, no one cover is going to speak to us all. And not all books can put spaceships on their covers. But I do think it’s important to consider the target audience when creating a cover. What can you say about the story with the cover, that you might not even have to read the story to at least somewhat understand? Or at the very least, what emotion can your cover evoke just by its picture and coloring? I think the psychology behind creating a cover for a story can be fascinating!

What do you think? What covers do you gravitate towards? What covers do you feel are properly marketed towards their target audience? 

My Top 10 Favorite Book Covers

Today’s Broke and Bookish Top Ten Tuesday topic is TTT Rewind: Pick a topic you have missed in the past or want to revisit. Well, I’ve missed a lot, so I had several to choose from. And though there were many great topics, I ultimately went with my Top 10 Favorite Book Covers, which I found appropriate considering my recent post on bad book covers. In order to not have every book in the world be a contender, but to also not limit myself too greatly, the standard I decided to go by was favorite covers of books I have either read OR plan to read. I didn’t want to choose a cover for a book I had zero interest in. Also, I found out that I’m a book cover snob. (I can hear my husband laughing now… he says I’m a snob about everything! :-P) I did include some special edition covers because a lot of times they are made to be especially awesome! Anyhow, here’s my Top 10…

#10: Les Miserables

les-miserables-book

I know what you’re thinking… it’s a picture from the 2012 movie! I get it! But it’s so haunting and beautiful. It’s a lot better than cartoon Cosette in my opinion. I must confess though, I don’t know if the “movie cover” matches the tone of the book or not since I have not read it yet.

#9: For Darkness Shows the Stars

fordarknessshows

Another one I have not yet read so admittedly, I do not know how well the cover matches the tone of the book. But I know it’s pretty!

#8: Matched Trilogy

matched trilogy

Part of me doesn’t love the bubble, but the symbolism of each cover is great. The colors also play an important role in the stories, so you can tell how well-thought out these covers were, which I appreciate.

#7: Pride and Prejudice

pride&prejudice

I didn’t read/don’t own the version with this cover, but I just love the artwork. It’s both fun and classic.

#6: Cinder

Cinder

This is such a clever cover for a retelling of Cinderella that centers on a Cyborg. Even without knowing the plot, I think one can derive a hint from the cover what the book might be like.

#5: Little Women

littlewomen

As if the cover isn’t pretty enough on first glance, notice the “little women” integrated into the letters!  Love it!

#4: Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

Cute and covered in teapots!

#3: To Kill A Mockingbird

Mockingbird2

Seriously, how whimsy is this? I also love that it features the characters. So cute!

#2: The Selection and The Elite

Selection and Elite

Sometimes I wonder if the cover of The Selection is what drew me to read it because seriously, I have no interest in the show The Bachelor, so why would I want to read a book with a similar premise? But  if you look at a big, clear picture of it, especially of The Selection, and see all those amazing details on the dress, and in the reflection… well, you can just see it’s just a gorgeous cover, reflecting all the splendor America experiences in the palace.

#1: Fahrenheit 451

fahrenheit451bookcover

This is probably seriously the most creative book cover EVER. Unfortunately, I have not read this classic yet but I have been wanting to for a while. And I’m kind of tempted to buy buy this version of it. Because it’s awesome.

What book covers are your favorite?

Outside My Comfort Zone

Today I am answering the Book Blogger Hop question presented by Coffee Addicted Writer, as well as the Let’s Talk question by Smash Attack Reads and A Book Obsession.

book blogger hop

“What was the last book you read from a genre you don’t normally read?”

What do I normally read? is the question I have to ask myself first. You see, ever since high school I have really dropped the ball on reading up until after college, really picking things up last year. Last year I read mostly young adult dystopia (and the year before was when I devoured The Hunger Games), and YA dystopia is also quickly filling up my TBR list this year. I did read a couple of non-fiction books last year as well, one which Amazon classifies as “Business” (very outside of my usual genre) and one about writing. I also read a couple of books I would consider classics.

All this considered, I think the last book I read from a genre I don’t normally read could very well be the last book I read, Ender’s Game (review coming soon, I promise!), which I think could be best classified as science fiction. And while I watch a good amount of science fiction, I don’t generally read it. I think Unbroken, which historical non-fiction, is another good example of a book outside my typical genre that I recently read.

ender-unbroken

The Let’s Talk question: “Do you judge books by their covers? Why or why not?”

In all honesty, I find it extremely difficult to NOT judge a book by its cover. Seriously, would you want to pick up any of these books based on their covers?

badbookcovers

Boring, bad artwork, bad photography, bad Photoshopping, bad font choices…

Now, I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to run across any of these books in Barnes and Noble or on Amazon’s best-seller lists. But here are some books I will find there…

bbc-bluebloodsThis isn’t awful, like the book covers above, but here we have a picture of a woman’s neck with marks, and then a city transposed on top of her. It seems… awkward. Without having read Blue Bloods, I can’t say I know the exact tone it needs, but a book cover that I feel does a great job of using photography and minimalism to create a haunting mood is the cover of Unremembered by Jessica Brody:

gbc-unremembered

Next is a simple cover with the terrible color scheme:

bbc-quiet

I would probably actually really like to read this book. The subject matter interests me and I have heard good things about it. But why does it look like a cover from the the 90s? It’s 2013!

gbc-simple

A better color scheme, better font, and a simple image can make a world of a difference.

And then there’s the dreaded “way too much going on here” cover:

bbc-the-crown-of-embersThere is definitely a way to have a more detailed cover without going overboard, as I think the cover of Paper Valentine showcases beautifully:

gbc-paper-valentine

 Needless to say, there are certain books your eyes gravitate towards, and certain books your eyes repel against, all based on the cover. I’ll admit, I probably would have never picked up The Hunger Games based on its cover, but it’s not a terrible cover. You have to go with what you have heard is good. But if something just looks cheaply thrown together, it’s hard to get excited about the story inside, as you fear it might be the same way.

What about you? Do you judge books by their cover? And what’s a book you read recently that was outside your usual reading genre?