Musings of a YA author throwing herself into the fray. Join me on the journey ...

Monday, September 26, 2011

YA Cover Fatigue: Or No-more-emo-girls-flowing-hair-in-gauzy-dresses, please!

If thou shalt not judge a book by its cover, then I have sinned. And mightily. And not just with books. But for the purposes of this post, we'll pretend I'm not shallow and can overlook the dude-at-the-pharmacy's lazy eye that stalked me down the feminine products aisle, just as you will overlook the twelve pounds of baby fat I'm still carrying eight years after childbirth (Hey, she was a big baby!), or the woman at your office who never, ever washes her hands in the restroom, or...We're talking about books here people, focus!

Now then, it is the very function of a book's cover to entice, to seduce, if you will, and make you want to pick it up, because that's half the battle. It's a war out there, you see. So many books, so few buyers, with less and less money or time. According to Barnes & Noble's website each store carries 100,000 unique book titles. Not just 100,000 books, but individual titles. One hundred thousand! This is what keeps me up at night as an author--well, that and the eerie glow of my laptop while trying to meet a deadline (stupid procrastinating). It's every book for itself out there and it better be well-armoured for the fight. Hence the need for a well-thought out, well-designed cover; something illustrative of the (hopefully) well-written story within, but provocative enough to help it survive the tsunami of new titles flung against it each week. Something that says: "Pick me! Pick me!".

Been in the YA section lately? This is a selection on a single shelf at my local crack house book purveyor:

Now, I'm not saying they're not pretty, and I guess they're supposed to say "angsty, ethereal, tragic but beautiful story within", but really when you start looking at them (and these are just a tiny sample of similar covers) don't they really kind of say "girl in need of Prozac contemplating flinging herself into the sea"? And if they're all saying that, and I've got maybe five minutes to choose one, then which do I plunk down my $17.99 for?

Note to publishers: Get a new theme! This one has run it's course.

1 comment:

  1. ... I passed up all those titles with the exception of die for me (cause i though the cover was pretty.. and the story ended up being really good too) I still have no desire for the others mostly because of the covers and the summaries inside them.. in the end you do judge a book by its cover/title. I'm not wasting good money on a book i probably wont like. its not like i can return it to the bookstore and say "meh it was boring i'd rather buy a different one"