Daddy's Christmas Angel

Monday, December 20, 2010

Book Covers Uncovered

CBS Sunday Morning is one of my favorite programs each week. Yesterday, one of the segments was "Book Covers Uncovered" which showed many great book covers that have become iconic. One that I remember especially from the program was the cover for Jaws. The image on the cover became the unforgettable movie symbol that people remember. From my Google search, I found there were several different cover versions, but one stands out from the array of covers shown. Take a look.

Jurassic Park is another book with an iconic symbol on the cover. If I remember correctly (I wasn't taking notes), the dinosaur symbol was intentionally chosen for future branding. What a great idea! Thinking about future promotion when deciding on the right cover for your book.

When considering iconic imagery, I think of the Starship Enterprise which is on many of  the Star Trek books. We see that image and immediately think of Star Trek--the TV series, movies, toys, and so much more.When I see Alex Cavanaugh's book cover for CassaStar, I admire the space ship imagery he has selected and expect it to become iconic.

Sometimes items of clothing appear prominently on book covers. One in particular that stands out is a high heel shoe. That may denote "chick lit" to the reader. A weapon on the cover usually leads a reader to expect a murder mystery or suspense novel. The cover designer for my book, Dangerous Hearts, first put a knife on my cover. Since I dislike knives, I asked her to remove it. She replaced it with a couple which indicates romance. Perhaps I shouldn't have changed the sinister look of the knife. That symbol would have signaled murder mystery which the book is more so than a romance.

More than anything else, the lesson for me from the CBS program was that covers are more important than we think--even for e-books. We, as writers, should plan carefully what we want on our covers. Our iconic symbols might be around for a very long time!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Iconic! I like the sound of that. Thank God my publisher created an awesome cover.
Thanks, Monti!

Mason Canyon said...

I hadn't thought about that but you're right, covers do stick with us.

Thoughts in Progress

Chris Phillips said...

I forget how many there were until you mentioned them.

Patricia Stoltey said...

This is an interesting post. I'm a reader who often picks a book by its cover, but I never thought much about the iconic element, especially for a series.

N. R. Williams said...

Sherry, my book designer and I talked about the cover a lot. I knew I wanted a flute to let the reader know, this is no ordinary fantasy. The flute, when played by my heroine, Missie, empowers the Treasures of Carmelidrium and the bad guy is in peril. Coming next week.

I'm on Chapter 16 of Night Watch...I didn't know anything about "walk-ins." What a great concept.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

I love the idea of making an iconic figure or image part of the cover.

Thank you, Alex, Mason, Chris, Pat, and Nancy for commenting. Nancy, I love the iconic idea of a flute. I can imagine the impact this image may have!

Something to consider for future covers!