I’ve written seven published novels for teens, and I think that background really helps me when I approach a design project because, a good cover really boils down to good storytelling. In order to be effective, a cover has to evoke the tone and mood of the genre, and must pose a question. (Or if you’re lucky, several.)
It’s important to point out here that the questions your cover evokes aren’t always identical to the ones your readers ask as they move through your story. As long as the questions resonate with your ideal reader, you’re okay. Your book will do the rest.
Here are some of the questions I hope potential readers ask when they see these book covers. (You can click on each cover to see more detail.)
Genre: Horror novel with a crime feel.
- What’s behind those bars?
- Why do they need to keep it locked up?
- Why is the fur so big compared to the bars? Whatever is in there must be HUGE!
- Um…why is there blood on the padlock?
THE WERECAT CHRONICLES
Genre: Young adult paranormal romance
- Why is she holding that cat mask?
- What is she trying to tell me?
- She’s in some pretty scary woods. Why isn’t she scared?
THE SINISTER MR. CORPSE
Genre: Humorous horror
- Why is that zombie wearing a top hat?
- Why is he grinning at me like that?
- He’s really creeping me out.
THE BLUE MONSTER
Genre: Crime novel
- Who is that kick-ass woman?
- Do you think she’ll go out with me?
- Who is she about to shoot?
Genre: Young adult mystery novel
- Why is that girl sneaking around?
- What is she hiding from?
- Is she going to get caught?
- Now she’s kind of got me wondering what’s in that room, too.
Genre: Giant monster horror novel
- WTF is up with an ant casting a shadow that big?
- I mean, really, those pincers look like they could take my head off.
- It looks kind of ticked off. I’m outta here.
What questions does your favorite book cover ask?