As much as we tell ourselves it’s the plot or the blurb that sells a book to us, I think a lot of us wouldn’t even bother to pick up a book in a bookshop if we weren’t first attracted to the cover. The front cover is the first chance a book has to impress is, and us bookworms want a shelf full of pretty books after all!
But what makes a good book cover? Well I have written an entire post on the subject, but to cut it short, the things I think makes a good book cover include:
- Genre conventions.
A good book cover should instantly give you a good idea of what genre the book in question is in. It should be clear from the off what you’re getting when you read that book!
- Relevance to the book.
You don’t want to be misled as a reader, which is why the cover should have relevance to the actual story.
- Bold and eye-catching.
It may seem a bit contradictory to say a book cover should contain genre conventions but also be eye-catching, but I think a lot of the best book covers incorporate both. A good mixture of genre conventions and uniqueness makes for the perfect book cover!
- Series consistency.
Books in the same series should have a consistent look to them, and it should be obvious that they are part of the same series. There’s literally nothing worse than publishers deciding to change the style of covers halfway through a series… I mean, how is that going to look on my bookcase?
However, at the same time, book cover preferences can by subjective, and what one person loves, another may hate. For example, I personally hate book covers with photographic images of people on them, but someone must like them, because publishers keep using them!
With that in mind, here’s a few of my favourite book covers, and the ones I feel are most effective!
The Darker Shade of Magic series by V.E.Schwab
I love, love, love the black, white and red covers of V.E. Schwab’s Darker Shade of Magic books! In fact, most of V.E. Schwab’s book covers have a similar look and colour scheme, and I think it’s so effective and eye-catching.
I also love that although the colour scheme remains the same, the main colour is changed with each book. It keeps the look consistent, but you’re easily able to tell them apart.
The A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas
I love the vibrance of the ACOTAR covers, and the way the illustration of Feyre is cut off to give it a mysterious feel. I even love the typography, and the little touch of having the ‘a’, ‘of’ and ‘and’ in the ‘O’s’! There’s no way these covers wouldn’t catch your eye at the bookshop!
The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
Whilst these covers are much more muted than the other covers I’ve mentioned so far, I think they’re just as amazing! I love the parchment effect, and the blood splatters and medieval-style title font all work so well with the dark fantasy story hidden within it’s pages.
Six Tudor Queens by Alison Weir
Historical fiction covers can be kind of samey, so I love the bold covers Alison Weir went for on her Six Tudor Queens series. Whilst it still evokes a historical feel, it’s very eye-catching and I love the little details like the portrait of each queen, and the background patterns.
The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo
I love, love, love these covers! They’re so incredibly unique, and I especially love the gothic style of the writing, and how well it combines with the blocky imagery.
The Constellations series by Claudia Gray
I love anything with a galaxy effect on it, and these covers are like, galaxy-themed masterpieces! I love the purple, blue and orange colour schemes, and the chunky, grainy font works so well!
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
This is a beautiful cover for a beautiful book! I think the block black background really draws your eye, and the simple colour scheme works really well. It’s a shame this is the only book in the series you can get in this style…the others are all just available with the really old-fashioned, ugly covers!
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I love the pastel green of this cover, and the cute little illustration really helps capture the feeling of the book and the characters!
The Wrath and the Dawn series by Renee Ahdieh
Is is me, or are these covers absolutely gorgeous? I love the rich colours and the golden accents, which really set it off. I haven’t seen may other book covers like these!
The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson
Like V.E. Schwab’s books, Brandon Sanderson’s books have a really strong look, based around a limited colour scheme. His Mistborn books had a nice, blue, white and grey colour scheme (and I really like the green, white and black of Arcanum Unbounded), but I particularly like the red, black and white colours of the Stormlight Archive books. Especially combined with the charcoal-drawing style images!
So what are some of your favourite book covers, and what do you like about them? What do you think makes a good book cover?