Book Covers

I was having a conversation with Jordanna East the other day about book covers, Here’s the link to her post:

In the post Jordanna ran through a few of the reasons that would stop her buying a book and one of them was various covers. I commented that I find it very off-putting when I see a photograph of a person on a book cover. Photographs in general can put me off a little but a picture of a person in particular can put me off (Although I am tempted to use a photo for mine, but that will be a last resort)

Why do I not like photographs on book covers? I think it’s because a book is a world of words which the reader makes come alive and having a photograph of a real person can take away some of that pleasure for the reader. It does also feel like a cheat (this is the reason why I don’t think I will ever put a photo on a cover). If a book cover looks cheap and nasty then does that mean the book is as well? And what can we tell from a picture? I brought Joe Haldeman’s Peace and War (This is three of Mr.Haldeman’s books in one volume, The Forever War, Forever Free and Forever Peace) on the strength of the cover (okay the cover did not actually reflect much of the content but it was a good hook and at the core of it did match the glum feel in parts of the book) But the cover showed a barren wasteland with futuristic assault rifle with its muzzle buried in the ground with a space helmet on top of it, almost like a grave marker. It intrigued me though, enough that I picked the book off the shelf and loved the look of the blurb.

A book is an escape, a world that is either not real or one that we do not know.  For me seeing a photograph on a book makes it too real. Also there is an art form here. The L.Ron Hubbard Writers And Illustrators Of The Future is a contest aimed at both writers and illustrators. ( This is a place where skilful new writers and illustrators are brought together to work towards bringing their skills to the world.

I know other people feel the same about photos as covers for books, and I’m not hating on photographs here, a friend of mine is a model and the stuff she does is amazing, but I like to see artwork on a cover. Something that is created on paper, or digitally.


Okay I have rambled enough for one night. Dont be shy, feel free to comment and let’s have a discussion 🙂

6 thoughts on “Book Covers

  1. Book covers really are key in selling a book. Although, I don’t entirely agree with you about photographs being a cheap cop-out. Book covers should reflect the mood of the book, and sometimes a photograph can achieve that. YA contemporary fiction might use a nice black and white photograph for its cover, and biographies almost have to use a photo. Whereas, photo covers would hurt any sci-fi or fantasy novel. What I hate for any genre is the cover that looks like it was made in Paint.


    • I agree with you a cover made in Paint, as you said the cover is incredibly important and if it looks amateurish then the books content may be as amateurish.
      I had not thought of biographies, or the YA element. I think it is because I am more Sci-Fi and horror and as you said it can hurt a book in sci-fi and fantasy.


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