Thursday, February 10, 2022

Cover choices



 Which one would you buy?

The price was almost identical.

34 comments:

E.M. Goldsmith said...

If I saw them together, the first one.

Question for the shark and the crowd - when you sell a book to a publisher, especially a big one, what kind of input does the author get for cover? Does the agent have a say? What about for titles? I don't like the working title of my WIP but it is without a doubt the best thing I have ever written. So I am wondering how much input an author gets into the cover design? What about title? Will the publisher throw out a number of titles and ask for input or do they say "we're paying you - it's our way or the highway"?

Hope everyone is well. I am a bit gutted today. My uncle passed away last night. He and my aunt (the one of the horses who passed away in 2015) practically raised me. He was old. He was sick. We knew it was coming. It doesn't help knowing.

Christine Sarmel said...

I’d skim right over the first one and at least pick up the second one. I’m fascinated to see where this discussion goes. Why certain covers appeal to certain people is always interesting.

Luralee said...

I love the first one! I also assumed it was fiction until I saw the subtitle. The second looks more nonfiction to me. And more bland.

Unknown said...

Definitely the second one! For some reason the first one looks really dated to me, while I love the simplicity of the second one.

KAClaytor said...

I’d buy the first one. I want the second one to work because it supports the title concept. But it just doesn’t. Font size/hierarchy is important.

E.M. - my sincere condolences to you.

Leslie said...

To me, the first looks like more like a mass-market book while the second cover looks more academic/serious.

E.M. Goldsmith, I'm so sorry for your loss. May his memory be a blessing.

As for your question re book covers, the final decision for cover art belongs to the publisher. Obviously, they'll likely take the author's opinions into strong consideration, but it's not a guarantee

John Davis Frain said...

Part of it might be the white background on my screen, but the first cover pops off the page and the second one barely registers as a book. That said, I'm still not sure of the connection between the image on the first cover and the title. Is that an exploding volcano?

The first one stands out here. But in a bookstore, I could see where the second one would stand out in a sea of color, and I'd pick it up there.

John Davis Frain said...

Also, the price is ALMOST identical? The cover generated a different price for one of them? I'm guessing the first because of print costs with full color and bleeds, but that seems an odd cost to pass on to the customer.

Craig F said...

I would pick the second, it looks to be harder hitting, maybe a real fact or two revealed within.

The first is at odds with the subject matter, and would make me think it is a soft sell type of thing, but it kind of goes with the title.

All in all it is not a winner on either cover, nor with the title.

Elise, my condolences.

Colin Smith said...

The first certainly does look more interesting. It has a retro 70s feel to it. I remember seeing news programs with that kind of large typeface in the titles back when I was a child. The color scheme is also reminiscent of non-fiction books I recall from the late 70s/early 80s.

The second cover is less "exciting," but I get that it fits with the title: "Bland Fanatics." It has a more "academic" feel to it.

I guess which to prefer depends on the nature of the book, and why I'm buying it. I've bought non-fiction books with fairly boring covers because it's the content I care about. If I'm looking for a serious work, I might be more inclined to the second cover because it is a little more reserved. The first seems more sensationalistic. Yes, the first is more likely to catch my attention. If I'd never heard of the book before, I might be drawn visually to the first cover. But if it's the subject matter that interests me, I might be more drawn to the second cover.

I'm not sure if those thoughts are at all helpful, or make any sense, but there they are. The suns here on Carkoon are particularly close this time of year so I'm not feeling very coherent.

Why am I on Carkoon? If you follow Janet and/or me on Twitter, you might know. If you don't... why not?! 😉

Elise: I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. No, knowing it's coming doesn't make the grief any less real. I pray comfort for you and your family over the coming days, weeks, and months.

Android Astronomer said...

Prices are "almost" identical? Then if I saw them side-by-side at the bookstore, I'd buy the cheaper one.

If asked which cover appeals to me more, that's a tough one.

I like the first cover's fonts, relative font sizes, and simplicity of the text. But I dislike the dated, seemingly hastily-selected (but definitely poorly-curated) artwork.

I like the second cover's simplicity and prefer the fonts (but not their relative sizes), but the "Text-As-Artwork" cover requires too much work (i.e., reading) to quickly engage a potential reader in a bookstore. (I know, ironic.) And the selection of words that are crossed out implies to me that the book treats the subject matter within its pages in a similarly simplistic fashion, like "Oh, yeah, Bland Fanatics are definitely against imperialism, whatever that is. Those bastards! I guess."

Overall, I think I would prefer to have the first cover on my own bookshelf. But I'm definitely taking a Sharpie and drawing an angry monster face on those mashed potatoes (or whatever that blob is).

Timothy Lowe said...

First looks more like a novel cover. I vote second?

Dena Pawling said...

The first definitely looks like the cover of a dystopian novel. The second needs better font sizing but looks more like non-fiction.

Curious why the first one has a NYT blurb at the bottom and the second one doesn't.

Elise - so sorry for your loss.

mhleader said...

I'd pick the second cover. The first cover makes no sense to me--doesn't seem to relate to content or title or anything else. I thought it was either a glob of animal fat (implying a topic about obesity or diet maybe?) or some kind of underwater cloud of--something or other. Like i said, it didn't make any sense to me.

The second cover makes clear what the book is actually about.

Kate Larkindale said...

I think I'd probably pick the first one. I feel like the second might get lost in a bookstore because it's so understated. But the second definitely feels like it suits the subject matter better than the first.

Rachel Neumeier said...

I prefer the second. The first looks more like fiction and the pink billows of cloud or ash or whatever don't do anything for me.

Barbara Etlin said...

If it was an impulse buy in a store, the first would get my attention more than the second. The second one *looks* bland, which is more appropriate, but--who wants to read something bland?

Actually, if I were the editor, I'd change the title and keep trying for a better cover.

E.M., I'm so sorry. Hugs.

Karen McCoy said...

E.M.: Condolences, hugs, love, light.

Agree that the second cover looks more like a nonfiction. While I am usually drawn to colors on covers, I think intent wins here.

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...


The second one for me. More elegant. The first one looks like it's trying too hard. And what's that pink thingee? Cloud? Ash? Overwhipped meringue?


Elise, my condolences.

Stacy said...

The second one.

Miles O'Neal said...

First off, Elise, I am so sorry to hear about your uncle. It doesn't matter how much we know it's coming, we're never quite prepared. Big hugs and prayers for you.

As for the books, probably the second. While not perfect, it gives you some idea what's inside, which piques y interest. The first cover is a bit bizarre for the content; I agree with those who say it looks more like a novel cover. When I first saw it, I thought perhaps it was a novel with a really dumb name.

I've been absent a while, just super busy. I've missed it here!

KariV said...

I would buy the white one. The minimalism speaks to me and I don't like the color scheme of the first one.

Julie Weathers said...

Elise I am so sorry for your loss. It doesn't matter how prepared you are. It's never easy.

As to whether an author gets any input into the design, usually not from what I understand. A mystery author from Oklahoma wrote a book that was similar to the Hillerman novels. On the cover were the gaudiest yellow boots with cacti and bucking broncos (whoopee ki yi) sticking out from under a prickly pear cactus. This was supposed to take place in Oklahoma where a cutting horse trainer was murdered and it looked like it was in the middle of the desert in Arizona.

The author said, "No self-respecting trainer would be caught dead in those horrid boots. Well, I guess mine was. I couldn't convince them to change the cover and cringe every time I see it."

For one thing, most horse people think yellow boots are bad luck in an arena. For the second thing, no cutting horse trainer would wear dude boots like that.

I bought the book, but removed the cover.

I'd buy the first. The second looks like a cheap Amazon self-pubbed book to me with no thought or imagination to the cover design. Not that all indie books are like that but some are...not the best in the cover design department.

Angélique Jamail said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aimlesswriter said...

The first one. The color draws me in. The second looks like a textbook.

LynnRodz said...

Honestly, neither one appeals to me, but If I had to choose, I would take the first. The second one is too boring to even pick up.

EM: My sincere condolences.

Adele said...

I'd go with the first. The blob looks like an explosion to me, and I don't really know what that has to do with Liberals, Race and Empire, but it's better than the other. The second one seems to be decorated with a list of things the bland fanatics are not. Which does not make me wonder what they are, it just makes me tired.

NLiu said...

I vote #2. #1 looks like an out of date textbook. But neither of these seem like something I'd enjoy.

Eileen said...

I would choose the second because as it gives me some hint as to what the content is. I will buy a cover that intrigues me/raises questions/is stunning but the first isn't that either. It's "prettier" than the second, but I don't think serves the actual book.

AJ Blythe said...

Neither. I really don't like either cover, so probably wouldn't pick up either off the shelf in a store to read the blurb.

If neither isn't an option for our Queen, I'd pick the first one, because I'd look more closely at the picture trying to work out what on earth it was (I thought strawberry ice-cream, but that's probably because I've a hankering).

Elise, I am truly sorry to hear about the loss of your uncle. I know what he meant to you. Even when you know something is inevitable, nothing can prepare you for the actual. My biggest hugs for you, my friend.

Theresa said...

Condolences, Elise, to you and your family.

I'm not a fan of the title or of either of the covers, but I think the second one is more reflective of a nonfiction book.

I've had input on book titles and covers (and my agent has even raised points I hadn't considered) and found it overall a pleasant, cooperative process. But I always knew the final decisions would belong to the publisher.

Joseph S. said...

For what it's worth, the copy on Amazon.com has the second cover.

Tony Spencer said...

Covers and titles: virtually none. They are taking the risk,they know what sells, marketing will have a bigger say than anybody else. You write, they sell.

Brenda said...

The plainer one.