Book covers fascinate me. The good ones incorporate the right balance of color, fonts, and imagery to spark interest and convey a book’s genre. It’s an art form I admire, and which I doubt I’ll ever get a handle on (but I hope to have the need to communicate with a cover artist at some point in the future).
In my research to understand book cover design, I’ve started out by collecting sample covers that catch my eye. I’m also becoming more aware of my own book-choosing habits. What is it that makes me push the buy button? An intriguing cover? A well-penned blurb?
Here are three books on my to-read mountain that I’ve already felt compelled to buy and why I committed to the purchase.
The Nameless Dwarf by D.P. Prior
Cover: Appealing colors (I like blue!), awesome artwork, and an interesting disparity between the title and what appears to be a warrior giant. Overall a great cover, well-balanced.
Summary: The last hope of the dwarves comes from the unlikeliest of sources: a mythical city beneath the waves, an axe from the age of heroes, and the Nameless Dwarf, in whose veins flows the blood of legends…an epic tale of remorse and redemption that pits a whiskerless thief, a guilt-driven assassin, a consumptive wizard, and an amnesiac dwarf against the worst imaginings of a craven mind.
My Take: The cover itself, with its hint at action and a cast of fantasy characters, was enough to compel me to buy the book.
Skynoise: A Time Travel Thriller by Ernie Lindsey
Cover: A “simply” rendered sky as a backdrop and a title that crackles with energy (and suggests science fiction).
Summary: In the present day, undulating wails are heard in the sky across the world with no apparent earthly origin. When respected academic Helen Weils meets conspiracy theorist Chip Sledd, she dismisses his theories of a connection between the disappearance of Roanoke Island colonists in 1587 and the strange noises in the sky. Then black-suited agents pursue her and Chip, and she realizes the past is more flexible than she thought possible—and seeking the truth might mean accepting the strangest theory of all.
My Take: The cover and the title drew me to the blurb: part time travel science fiction and part technothriller…with a blend of mystery, suspense, psychological drama, comedy, and fast-paced action adventure. The combination of a good cover and a blurb describing a different kind of time travel story sold me on the book.
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
Cover: An example of a simple and uncluttered layout that works. Complimentary colors and an unusual font that’s different but not distracting. It all comes together to pull the eye to the title and the dog constellation.
Summary: A powerful novel about a pilot who survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. When a random transmission beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope that something like his old life might still exist. Narrated by a man who is part warrior and part dreamer, a hunter with a great shot and a heart that refuses to harden…a breathtaking story about what it means to be human.
My Take: I probably would have passed on this one because of the cover’s simplicity, but the title and the constellation made me curious enough to check out Amazon’s Look Inside feature. The first three paragraphs from chapter one:
I keep the Beast running, I keep the 100 low lead on tap, I foresee attacks. I am young enough, I am old enough. I used to love to fish for trout more than almost anything.
My name is Hig, one name. Big Hig if you need another.
If I ever woke up crying in the middle of a dream, and I’m not saying I did, it’s because the trout are gone every one. Brookies, rainbows, browns, cutthroats, cutbows, every one.
The story’s post-apocalyptic aspect and the character’s voice promised an interesting read and compelled me to push the buy button.
What do you think? Would these covers compel you to buy the books?