Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Magical Invitation of Cover Art

One of the best things about walking into a bookstore for me, besides all of those fantastic books just begging to be read, is the magical invitation of cover art. Yes, there’s also the wonderful smell of all those books, tempting and teasing all of us bookaholics. There they sit on their shelves and endcaps, in the bargain bins, waiting to find their right homes, ready to be ensconced in our shopping bags.
But before I choose which ones to buy, whether it’s an adventurous escape into romance or my eclectic appetite for non-fiction, anything from travel to building that next deck, I look at the pictures, those amazing displays of graphic art.
I saunter around the shrine of reading and indulge in all those rows of cover art. Today, more than ever, it’s a kaleidoscopic feast of styles, meant to tempt you to pick up that book and buy, buy, buy. Usually, I don’t unless the accompanying blurb and a quick peek inside convince me...yep, this read is for me. Once in awhile, I’ll succumb and purchase just for the cover art, if it resonates at such a deep level I can’t resist.
Yup, even as a kidlet before kindergarten I wanted the irresistible eye candy of those big picture books as much as I wanted to hear my mom or dad read the story. What could be better than living the tale and seeing it unfold as the artist imagined the story? All at the same time? That has never changed or me. Growing up, I was usually as excited over the cover art and pictures as I was eager to read the story waiting for me, the one that would wisk me away to another time, another place.
Now, in the age of cyber cover art, I’m in a beautiful-color paradise of images designed to catch my eye and lure me to the click-buy button. From the lovely sensual romance cover art of our Friday guest blogger, Sarah Mallory – to the exquisite sizzling beauty of the vampire slayer on Colleen Gleason’s cover art – or the more traditional oh-be-still-my-beating-heart covers on Anna Campbell’s novels (I always feel like swooning into the hero’s hard, but tender embrace) – to our Helen’s cover art for The Magic Knot. Which, I swear, grabs me more each time I look at it. Perhaps, it’s the celtic lyrical magic of the images combined with the realism of the entwined couple. That feel of mythos brought forward into modern times, which has an enchantment-appeal all its own to our psyches, where archetypes live and constantly weave their spells inside us. Hey, think Xena, Warrior Princess or Hercules with Kevin Sorbo, where the gods and goddesses were on their worst behavior and their best behavior.
Okay, why a blog about cover art? Gee, I dunno...could it be? Could it?
Yeah, big surprise, I’m showing off my cover art for When a Good Angel Falls, coming from Siren-BookStrand late in 2008, and currently featured on the new BookStrand site. Jinger Heaston is the cover artist and I think she beautifully captured my story. I couldn’t be happier. Kudos, Jinger!
Blurb for When a Good Angel Falls ~ 2012 futuristic ~
A world-weary, worn-out, incarnated angel who believes she is merely human has three choices: let the Nazerazzi of the North American Union capture her, walk out into the desert night and let the wildlife have a meal, or trust a mysterious stranger on a black motorcycle...More ~ http://www.bookstrand.com/comingsoon/


Evonne Wareham said...

Love the piece, love the cover. There is a very powerful link between book content and what goes in the book, and as you say, it can really influence when and what you buy. Getting a good cover artist must be an author's dream. I'm trying to sort out what to put on the cover of the book I'm working on with the group of Welsh writers who are hoping to start publishing this summer. Not easy!

Lexie O'Neill said...

How many books will that make for this year? You go!
As far as cover art goes, it certainly has a huge impact! I find myself drawn to real pictures as opposed to graphic, elegant as opposed to graphic (the other meaning of the word), and illustrations accurate to the story (no red-headed princess when she has black hair). I do want to see the people, especially the guy, so I can picture everything in my head!
Interesting blog!

Terry Odell said...

I agree, good covers are a plus. I love the way my publisher will work with authors to get the right cover.

I did have one last-minute cover that wasn't what I'd envisioned, and when I do signings, people tend to pick up the other book first, but at least they turn them over and read the back blurbs, too.

I've got another publisher for my next book, and I'm chewing my nails waiting to see how they do covers.

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

I grew up on my dad's 50's sci-fi covers--very mind bending for a kid!

I have bought books just because of the cover and sometimes in spite of the cover. ;)

This cover is just as nice as the others you've gotten--you are really lucking out with great cover art work!

I also like the blurb--sounds interesting.

Savanna Kougar said...

Evonne, thank you. No, it's not easy. It's needs to an organic artistic process IMHO. Luv to see what you and your group decide on.

Lexie, Okay, two of my novels are released, then I have three under contract. I know what you mean about truth in advertising as far as the heroine and hero are concerned. I used to just loathe it when it didn't match! However, my heroine is perfect and my hero also. Did you notice his black translucent wings?

Terry, chewing the nails, yep. Or I feel like my nerves are strung from here to the moon. Wishing you the blessing of the cover gods. What are books? Please forgive me for not knowing.

Anitra, I know my dad had those too. And, hey, the James Bond covers were pretty good too! I have, thank you, thank you! lucked out so far. However, the first cover for Pleasures of Blue Lotus Oil had a woman model that was not my heroine. So, I had David Burton paint her. I'm very pleased with how he portrayed my heroine. I do have an issue with the horse figure because it doesn't represent the breed of horse in the story. But that's the way it goes. Lady Sheridan won out over her Braverth horse.

Trish Milburn said...

I love browsing the covers in the bookstore, particularly in the YA section. They're so varied and so good! Even though what's between the covers of a book is the most important, we can't discount the effect the cover has on the buyer. Some people really do judge a book by its cover.

Mai Christy Thao said...

Savanna, great cover! Truly looks "magical"! =)

Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Trish, the most important is between the covers. Yet, the cover art can set the scene like a theater before the play begins.

Thank you, Mai. I think it looks 'magical' too.

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

I *think* a cover can never be fully perfect to what we have in our brains but if it comes close and conveys the essence we are looking for...well, that is awesome! :)

One of the reasons I liked Red Lioness Tamed was the cover was evocative of those 50's covers. As a kid, I would sit and just soak up those marvelous covers...to this day when I visit with my dad, I look at his old collection.

Later on in May I'm going to post about covers and I'd love for you to chime in. I'm going to talk about the different types, what people like, what they don't, and even if a cover can make or break sales on a book.


Savanna Kougar said...

Anitra, that would be a great post on covers! I'm hoping to write Book II of Adventures of the Red Lioness. And, hopefully have David Burton paint that cover too, in the same style. Hope, being the operative word in this business.

Mel Hiers said...

"Yet, the cover art can set the scene like a theater before the play begins."

I love this perspective on covers, Savanna! Congrats on, yet again, another great cover! You rock!

Savanna Kougar said...

Mel, thanks! Let's hope Juno sees the magic in your manuscript. That would be so kool. They have wonderful covers too. Fingies crossed.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

I so agree with you Savanna. I look in book shop windows and stare at the covers as though they were candy. I love browsing, although I don't get much time to do so and end up buying many of my books on-line. Love your new cover. You've had some good ones! Thanks for mentioning the cover of Magic Knot. I love the cover more each time I look at it as well!