Things a Cover Reveals

During an event not long ago, I had a couple young girls pick up my books and based on the covers alone, they commented in French that the books looked "so good". I was busy with someone else and not at the table to respond, but I could hear their comments. When they found out the books were written by me, they waited to ask about the covers. (They still had no idea what the books were about since both girls couldn't read in English.)

So I explained how each cover came to be and who the artists were. As children often do, they had a lot of questions about how getting such a cool cover works and what everything on it means.

Each cover has symbols on it that mean something to me.

Petrified is about a journey of hope. The light bouncing off Gabe as he fights getting turned to stone means that he will survive. The paper he's holding is the source and reason of his journey. It holds all his hope. Artist Amber Rendon designed it to capture the interest of teen readers and it always does. Incredibly powerful magic.

The cover for Ghosts on the Prairies reminds me of my childhood. I used to hold books after I read them, to figure out why the artist put this or that on the cover, as if it was my final moment with the book. It gives me an artistic joy when I see Ghosts on the Prairies, that makes me feel like others "get the story". Every thing on it is symbolic to me. The artist, Alison Buck did a wonderful job tapping into the story, the themes, and the emotions it evokes.

So of course, when these girls asked about it, I explained what everything meant to me. I talked about Antoine's journey from dark to light, the explosions and fires, the tunnels... Lost in the magic, I missed the wolf, the center, as he stands in the light of hope. And so they pointed to it, curious.

I rightly explained how the hero had killed this wolf after it had killed his little sister. How the wolf was haunting him until he learnt something very important from it. And that this wolf was one of the ghosts in the story, but that there are many other types of ghosts.

They held the books, each one had a different one, and I saw the magic in their eyes, the same magic I had as a child when I discovered a secret on the cover I had dismissed before reading it. It was so moving to see them, I went home and held some books. I didn't read them, I just studied the covers to see if they spoke to me. I went on amazon and did the same. It's not the same looking at covers on the computer as holding that book in your hand. I got thinking about how I miss that part. Using my Kindle is nice, but I miss holding the book before I open it and studying the cover to see if any of the secrets on it are revealed yet.

What type of covers stir emotions in you? Do you look at a cover differently after you read the book? Do you find a difference between holding a book and reading it on your ereader? Do you miss seeing the cover every time you pick it up? Have you ever found a cover misleading? OH! And what do you think about those new covers that have scenes from the movie!?


Richard Hughes said...

Both your book covers relate very well to the stories told. Petrified is particularly bold and fits the constant struggles the characters go through. Ghost on the Prairies is particularly beautiful, and relates well to the beauty of the story itself.

No doubt about it, book covers are important and take a lot of thought to create.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

ahhh...your key question...the misleading cover.

Makes me think of the cover for 'Twilight'

Tanya Lynne Reimer said...

It's an impressive talent for sure. One I do appreciate.

Suzi said...

That's a very cool experience.

It's fun to be able to figure out why something in the cover is there. And on the flip side, sometimes you wonder what the heck the cover has to do with anything in the book. Which is probably why often authors are not happy with their publisher chosen covers. :)

Misha Gericke said...

I think a lot of covers done in Trade Publishing are misleading, since the author doesn't have as much input into what has meaning and what doesn't.

That said, I've found that something that definitely changed the way I look at covers is making my own.