Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Great Debates

The blogs have been full of great debates lately. Just check out the Dirty Sexy Books rant/collaboration, with Abigail from All Things Urban Fantasy, about blurring the lines between paranormal romance (PNR) and urban fantasy (UF). In part 1 of this discussion, they've chosen 4 books that smudge the rules and analyze why they are so successful. Be sure to stop over and give your thoughts!

My debate this week has been with book covers and book titles. I know we've talked about this before, the good cover/bad cover thing, but I was really peeved this week over a really good book. I finally picked up The Vampire and the Virgin (Love at Stake series, Book 8) by Kerrelyn Sparks- a fun, enjoyable series that always entertains. I already dislike when a title sounds kinda silly, mostly because I hate explaining to my 7 year old daughter what a virgin is, or having the moms in the parent pick up line give me vulture eyes.

So...started the book despite the title only to be annoyed when the cover model looks NOTHING like the character. I know this isn't the authors fault in any way and that finding exact images from our imaginations is technically impossible, but is it that difficult to find a model that at least looks close to what the author intended? Robby, the vampire character, is a hulking Scottish dude with red/auburn hair, while the mystery man on the cover has dark hair and exotic features. Does that sound like Robby to you?

The outside cover is done in grayish tones so it's not that noticeable at first. But when you open the front cover you get a full color image that simply does not match what your brain has been telling you! I just found it to be very distracting and I'm not sure why the art department made that call. Good story though.

Do these things matter to you or is it just me?


Abigail [All Things Urban Fantasy] said...

Thanks for the mention. Be sure to check out Part two on Thursday :)

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I hate when the cover doesn't match the story, even worse when the back blurb doesn't seem to fit..It makes you wonder about the publisher. Do they not care about their authors enough to do the stories justice.

Michele Hauf said...

That would bug me SO MUCH if my hero had red hair and then he looked like that on the cover.

Yes, it's true authors have very little influence over the covers of our books. And I'm learning we have less and less influence sometimes the bigger the book is. For example, I had to fill out the art fact sheet for my May 2011 release about a month ago. I haven't even started the book yet! I had a vague idea of what the hero and heroine could look like, but who knows? They could change! So I realize that often the cover art is being made before the story is even written. Weird but true.

So as an author I'm just thankful when the cover people vaguely resemble what I had in mind. SIgh...

Eric & Tristan said...

I agree! I'm a totally visual person. I find myself turning to the cover of a book often while I read it just to refresh the images of the character(s) in my mind as I read. Everyone I know who reads these kinds of books thinks that the mis-match of cover art to the characters is annoying.
You should start a revolution to end the pre-covering of books!!!!!
Viva La Revolucion!!!!!

Anonymous said...

It bothers me too, when the picture doesn't match the character's description inside. And I can't say how much I hate stupid book titles. "The Virgin and..." anything is just terrible, also those titles like: the greek millionaire's wife.

Lorelei said...

Yep. I need the cover to help me visualize what the character looks like and what she/he might be up to at some point in the book.

I love Charlaine Harris' book covers, and hated that they began putting different covers on the "older" ones. Just to try and sell it as "now a series on HBO".

I love the art work on Kim Harrison's books as well. I want to see her character stalking her quest/enemy, or whatever she's doing in the book.

And I'd hate if someone insisted on a dumb title for anything I wrote. I think I'd want to have a tantrum.

Anna Dougherty said...

Tantrum. That's exactly what what I feel like I'm doing:) Cover mishaps are just so frustrating and distracting. And I just can't fathom why authors don't have more say in this. Covers are the first thing we see- first impressions and all that. Maybe I'll contact a few art departments and see what shakes out.