Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cover Art and Other Amusements

My novel, The Soulkeepers, is coming right along.  This week, I've been working with an artist on the cover.  If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know I write cross-genre.  The Soulkeepers is an upper YA paranormal, with inspirational, suspense, fantasy and romantic elements.  A fifteen-year-old boy of chinese-american descent is the main character.

After much discussion, the artist sent me seven amazing sketches promoting various aspects of the work.  I'll tell you right now, any one of them would have made an above average cover. Four of them had a male as the central figure, two were abstract, and the seventh had a male plus the face of a female character from the book.

Here's something interesting about YA: researching the market, I found that the books rated as having the best covers featured a female face.  However, these books don't necessarily have the best sales. What's an indie to do? In the end, I asked the artist to expand on this last idea hoping that the tension between the male and female character in the artwork would appeal to both male and female readers.

What's your opinion?  When you think of the best YA covers you've seen this year, what elements come to mind?


  1. Just off the cuff, I would think a male and female cover would generate the most "closer looks" and/or sales. As you say, the tension is automatic, especially when emphasized by the artist. It's hard to know whether someone judging an image as "best cover" would be prompted to actually buy the book (or at least pick it up and page through it in a store).

    Thanks for this! It helps me as I work towards self-publishing my chapter book.

  2. Thanks, Scotti. I'll be posting more about this journey as I get closer to publication.

  3. I think your observations are correct. An object or a symbol are also good ideas. As well as close up of eyes, half a face, prominent eyes starting at you can also look good.

  4. Yes, that would be the typical YA cover. But, just now, I read Hilary Wagner's post and comments Now I'm thinking of going an unexpected direction. It looks like there is an untapped need out there.

  5. ...from the comments at Wagner's site, it seems boys fear a cover which may be interpreted as feminine. Yet their are more girl readers (the marketplace to consider). Perhaps the male only image cover might be won't offend the male buyer and probably will entice the female buyer. It's good you're giving this some extra thought though, candidly, didn't expect any less from you.

  6. Well the cover of a book does make me pick it up but its the synopsis on the back that more than often makes me decided whether or not to give it a go. Having said that, I think male/female cover would attract more views, although I do like the idea of a symbol. Something, intriguing or shocking!


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