The Cover Debate — Covered [updated – more covers]

Here’s what Jane Henderson is looking for:

What reminds me of Hamilton’s series is the monotone, shadowy picture of a young woman’s body, particularly from behind. Some comments have said that this image is common in young adult literature; I have not seen any, and I have been looking on the web at other young adult fantasy literature. I also receive about 300 books a week in my office and this is the first young adult book that I have noticed that struck me as having a cover similar to the Hamilton series. If someone knows of another book about urban fantasy, faery courts & mortals that sports a monotone image of a young woman, please send me the title.

(cut to shorten post– lots of thumbnail images)
These titles were put forth by Jeaniene Frost in the comments, and then were rejected by Henderson, except for PC Cast’s Betrayed, which was accepted by Henderson as similar, but then rejected because the book is about vampires, not faeries:

barnes.jpg bray1.jpgbray2.jpgvonziegesar.jpgcast.jpg

Next, Henderson changes her mind about what sort of book cover she’s looking for: she doesn’t want a single title, but a *series* of books with images in monotone like Hamilton’s.

The images in question– again:

Marr:

marr_ink.jpgwicked.jpg

Hamilton:

hamilton_mg_1.jpghamilton_mg_3.jpghamilton_mg_2.jpghamilton_mg_4.jpghamilton_mg_5.jpghamilton_mg_6.jpg

Now I give you monotone and faeries:

delint.jpgcrowley.jpgwindling.jpgdelint4.jpgdelint2.jpgblock.jpgblock2.jpgblock1.jpgblock3.jpgblock4.jpgtrent.jpgtrent1.jpgtrent2.jpg

Monotone and shapeshifters, vampires, demons and witches, etc:

matters.jpgnightlife.jpgroad.jpghappy.jpgclaimed.jpghalfway.jpgbuffy.jpgsuccubustop.jpgone-foot-in-the-grave-xl.jpgnohumans.jpgwhite-knight.jpgshadows-in-the-starlight-paperback.jpgunnatural.jpgoutlaw.jpgwraith.jpgharrison2.jpggustainis.jpgmead1.jpgmead3.jpganthomoon.jpganthoprowl.jpgvaughn1.jpgvaughn3.jpgvaughn.jpgvaughn2.jpgsunny.jpgsunny1.jpgandrews.jpggalenorn.jpgcast3.jpggreywalkercoversm.jpg

Monotone couldn’t possibly be a convention of the contemporary fantasy genre? Perhaps done on purpose so a buyer knows exactly what s/he’s getting?(Yes, there’s a Buffy poster in there.*g*)

How about a few more pulled specifically from YA?

delacruz.jpgdelacruz2.jpgschreiber2.jpgschreiber.jpgsmith.jpgatwaterrhodes.jpgcaine.jpgmead.jpgmancusi.jpgmead2.jpgcast2.jpgcaine2.jpglarbalestier.jpg

If we’re going to talk about similar covers, then we’re going to talk about whole genres and dozens of authors. We’re not going to single anyone out.

So, what do you think? Do these covers tell readers what they’re getting? Is the monotone cover overdone? How about those body shots? What do you want to see on a fantasy novel cover?

6 comments on “The Cover Debate — Covered [updated – more covers]

  1. I’ve thought from the very beginning that Melissa’s covers are 1) gorgeous and 2) different ENOUGH from what’s on the shelves so as to stand out. The leaf detailing and embossing, nevermind the delicate palette make them distinctly different in tone from the Hamilton covers.

    That said, it would be nice to see some of the covers using as much commissioned artwork as photography/photoshop, but it should always ALWAY depend on the nature of the book.

  2. Not exactly monotone, but the sequel to TATTOO (which is pictured with the first group) looks even more like Melissa’s covers than Tattoo does.

    Great post- I got kind of mesmerized looking at all the pretty (and similar) covers.

  3. This is part of a message I have posted at stltoday.com’s Book Blog. I wanted to bring attention to it here:

    Shara, thanks for noting that error in terminology. Actually, maybe I should have said monochromatic. But obviously I meant that there is primarily one color (besides black). Yes, the lips on the girl/woman on the Marr book have a pinkish red, which is different.
    But I never intended this to be a point-by-point match. It’s more of an impression of similarity. I never said anything illegal was done.

    And now my awareness by all the comments has been raised! There ARE more and more monotone/monochrome-ish covers that are blurry-ish, shadow-ish that seem to evoke mystery AND/OR fantasy. When they have women’s body parts or whole women I believe they are also implying that there will be sexual innuendo, women as lust objects and/or women-in-danger aspects. Perhaps, though, this is an overdone trend at this point. It might be getting to the point where the information conveyed by the images has less meaning.

    These are obviously generalizations – which I still maintain is a way of conveying basic genre information, although the cross-pollination of genres is making things a bit more complex. I.E. horror is now mixed with SF or fantasy and romance, etc. This seems to be a result of the growth in publishing and the emphasis on niche titles.

    A few years ago I wrote a story about the proliferation of women’s body parts on book covers. I am going to look this up to post for anyone interested.

    None of this changes my mind about the impression the cover and topic combination of the Marr book made on ME. I will continue to reiterate that is the COMBINATION of theme, topic and cover aspects and that I still think there is a strong resemblance. For a general reader, I think they might see similarities. For a fantasy specialist or niche reader, they may seem very, very different. The book publishing industry traffics in knock-offs, similar books all the time. This is not really disputable. Harry Potter spawned a lot of knock-offs, even if the magic/wizard story also had a long history before Rowling was born.

    Note also that publishers do not send every genre book out for review to mainstream, general interest publications. They obviously think Marr is something special and are giving her book special attention. With extra marketing effort comes extra public scrutiny – a professional writer knows and accepts that.

  4. Ms Mantchev– Yes. The detailing is lovely on Ms Marr’s covers, which are also not as monotone w/black as Ms Hamilton’s. Marr’s are more faded colours than they are monochromatic. (Hello from a fellow IMP!)

    Ms Barnes– Thank you! What a lovely cover! Just gorgeous! And so relevant to the discussion. Thank you for sharing!

    Ms M– I’m so glad you said that! I thought collage of covers came out rather well, and I found myself wanting to see a few more of these on my shelves.

  5. Pingback: No Apology In Sight « Urban Fantasy Land

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