Thursday, July 26, 2012

Text Only Cover Design

J.K. Rowlings' new novel has only text (and a check mark) on the cover.  I won't bother posting the image because everyone is freaking about copyright though you'd think it would be publicity.  If you want to see it The Casual Vacancy.  And let me say that this book costs $19.99 for the kindle edition and $20.93 for the hardcover so I'm not buying it any time soon.

(I need to go off on a tangent.  If she's worth more as a writer than I am because she made a billion dollars, and my books are priced at $2.99, why stop at $20 for her book?  Why not charge what she's worth?  Price the book at $5000.  She's worth more than Picasso, right?)

This seems to be a popular way to go and I thought about it for a while then decided to see what it would do for a cover I didn't particularly like.  Ever.

I had to look at this for a while and came to the conclusion I liked it enough to abandon the headless torso of a doctor which I always hated.  I never liked the woman and the broom thing either.

Done properly, I think using text only is quite effective.  We'll assume you choose a readable font, something plain and bold.  It's clean and uncluttered.

The argument against is that it tells you nothing about the book itself.  And I'm at the point of "Who cares?"


I've seen the vector women with the shopping bags.  I've seen the prone female, legs in the air, with panties dangling off her high heels on at least 3 different books, I've seen the sweaty couples clutching each other.  It's a relief to just see the title.  For me.

Billboards are created so that if you drive past at 60 mph you still understand them.  That's an ebook cover.
People are scrolling past at speed.  These moody, dark, settings with designed fonts do not read well in thumbnail size.  (I'd love to hear the argument that they do read well and I'm wrong.)  As beautiful and as evocative as they might be, are they successful at 1) being easily understood in thumbnail size 2) different from 1500 other covers.

Being different is not always a good thing.  That's a choice one needs to make.  How different do you want to be and when does being so different stop helping and begin to hurt.


Jim Self said...

You're so right. One tightly muscled torso looks pretty much like another. Something clean, simple, and legible does a lot more to get attention than stock art of entwined bodies.

It makes the actual words used more important, too. Your title does that, I think.

The Hostess with the Mostest said...

Thank you. Maybe it's a lesson we can learn.