As you read previously this week, I have several rules of thumb regarding whether or not I will accept a book for review. On that list you might notice that the cover doesn't come into the process anywhere. That's because I rarely look at eBook covers before I read the book. And THAT is because I like to judge books by their synopses rather than their covers. However, and I have greatly lamented from time to time, readers tend to be pretty persnickety about reading books if they aren't attracted to the cover. Which can happen even with big-pub books (because believe me, if I wasn't already hooked on the Chemical Garden series by Lauren DeStefano, the cover of Fever would certainly have put me off reading it if the cover was my biggest source of attraction).
That I don't judge a book by its cover does not I am immune to ugly cover dislike, though! I feel that the cover of your book should at least show you took the effort to create something that speaks to the nature of your story and characters in a professional way. I get that cover creation can be expensive if you are an indie publisher but there are a lot of clever ways of getting around the cost. More about that later.
Anyhow, here is the meat and potatoes of my post. My 2 lists of indie book covers. The Best & The Worst. Note, I have chosen not to include the covers of books I have read so as to be as unbiased as possible.
The Best Indie Covers
What struck me about all of these is that they could pass as big-pub books. The first and last are very simple & cleanly designed. The second and third are simply a nice photograph with a few color enhancements (and well, obviously the addition of a leopard too). Number four is pretty indicative of what the big-pubbers are putting out for covers of dystopian/sci-fi books.
What I Think Happened? The authors took a peek at what big-pub is doing & designed accordingly. Imitation of style is never a bad idea. Now, completely ripping off, that's another story... Read on.
The Worst Indie Covers
Number one and two are blatant attempts to look like the Fallen series by Lauren Kate. Especially number two which is the same image with some alterations(which causes me to wonder how the author obtained the rights to the image). Not to mention the fact that apparently the girl's chest in number two is actually on her back... Number one suffers from PIF syndrome -- that's pre-installed fonts. A big no-no for ANY design project. Never EVER use the fonts pre-installed on your computer ESPECIALLY when there are free font outlets like dafont.com and fontsquirrel.com out there! Numbers three and five seem to have been designed in MS Paint. The colors look like standard MS Paint colors and number five has a lot of bizarre line shapes that look straight out of MS Paint too. Number four has been purposely tinted a strange green-beige and the font is hard to read because of its own odd color.
What I Think Happened? Two things. One, blatant copying of covers of popular books in the hope of a subconscious connection between them resulting in readers snapping up the book immediately. And two, the authors of the MS Paint & oddly colored covers seem to have either little care about marketing their books or are just churning out so many books that they can't even begin to afford even cheap design help like the $20 Adobe Photoshop-comparable software that I use.
Honorable Mention Bad Indie Covers
Because I just had to point out that they have been DONE TO DEATH.
This guy in the hoodie gets WAY too much face time on covers. I've found two more since the last time I wrote about it. And well, you can tell the bottom three are pretty darn similar & pretty darn representative of another trend in indie covers that has been done ad nauseum.
What I Think Happened? I don't know...