Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Quick and Dirty Guide to Book Covers

Book covers are important. It's like a greeting card for your novel. It draws your reader in, and tells him at a glance what sort of story to expect.

While looking at tons of covers in the bookstore/Amazon, I noticed a trend in covers, a trend I thought would help you. So here you go: a quick and dirty guide to covers.

Science Fiction: Spaceships!
              Space Opera: MOAR spaceships! Preferably near a planet or asteroid. 
              Cyberpunk: Dude in front of six computer monitors, wearing a blu tooth headset.
              Dystopian: Picture of a charred wasteland.
              Steampunk: ALL the dirigibles. 

Fantasy: Dragons! 
              High Fantasy: Dragons over a pseudo-European forest *If your high fantasy is the one or two books that takes place outside Fake Europe, it will be appropriately ethnic.
              Urban fantasy: badass chick or dude leaning against something. If your book features more than one sex scene, the chick will be wearing all leather and displaying brokeback.   

Romance: Sexy people time!
              Contemporary: Sexy dude with abs and sexy woman with boobs half naked about to jump each other.
              Paranormal: Same as contemporary, only dude will have fangs and/or yellow eyes to indicate he's NOT HUMAN

YA: Teenagers! Dressed in teen clothes!
             Contemporary: Pictures of lakes, boats, schools, and food. Lots of food. Teens like food, right? Put food on the cover and they'll buy the book.
             Paranormal Romance: Same as above except everything is DARK and BROODING

Literary: Landscapes and pretty scenary!
             Old White Dudes Having Existential Crisis: Artistic watercolor rendition of a city
             Middle Aged Woman Fighting for Her Place in Society: Garden Scenery with Birds

Horror: All the dark colors! Houses! Desolate woods!

Historical: Female in period-appropriate clothing standing in front of famous landmark

Clearly this is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully it will point you in the right direction when it comes time to chose or offer imput on your book cover.
Do you have any other suggestions for genres? Plop them in the comments section!



    Which would be super funny except the way my library categorizes sci fi is by sticking a clip art sticker of a rocket on the spine. so, yeah, definitely something to this one (even when there aren't actual spaceships in the novel!!!)

  2. LOL I guess it thinks the same thing I do...SF means spaceships right? Right.

  3. And the little ghost for paranormal. And the little skull for horror.

  4. This is so helpful! Very practical advice. Thank you!

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, With Joy)