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Another cover contemplation

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I have no idea why I’m obsessed with cover art of fantasy novels. I bet there’s a forum somewhere where the poor cover artists slam my acting etc. to give a little payback. Serves me right.
I’m going to make a concerted effort to NOT be quite as snide about stuff, because poor Patrick Rothfuss got quite a Flogging a few posts back on his cover differences (I do love his new paperback cover, but I also like the leaves hardback cover without the guy, forgot to mention that!) After a short browsing of new novels, I notice a trend that I wanted to talk about. Here’s my latest contemplation.

I don’t know if I’ve written about it, but C.S. Friedman’s “Coldfire” Trilogy might be my favorite trilogy ever. I have the first edition hardbacks on my shelf because I love this series so much. Her Sci-Fi stuff is great as well, and when I saw her latest book last year, I grabbed it in hardback. “Feast of Souls” is a great magic/epic/vampirish-hybrid book that make me drool for #2. I was putting pre-order books in my Amazon cart today, and noticed that the paperback version of this book was release. (But not a release date for #2 anywhere, damnit!)

Anyway, check out the new graphic for the paperback:

Soo, what’s going on here? Same trend from Mr. Rothfuss’ book. Hardback (Expensive) edition, is cartoonier, kinda reminds me of a TV show still about a teen goth medieval chick. Paperback has a way more adult feel to it, racier, more sci-fi even. Is there market testing going on here that a more “traditional” fantasy cover is better for a hardback and then “less genre” is better for expanding the audience for the cheaper option? Anyone with insight about this, let me know, it’s very curious! It seems to me that you want to “brand” your product from beginning to end with something distinctive. I mean, as much as I disliked the covers for the “Wheel of Time” (stumpy humans anyone?) you knew instantly that it was a Robert Jordan book when you looked at the shelf.

To be honest, I’m kinda torn between the “Feast of Souls” covers. Having read the book, I almost feel that the hardback is a better representation of the book as a whole, but the paperback version is more mature feeling, and since the book was a lot grittier than I expected (Less paranormal fantasy that I thought it would be, more epic fantasy) maybe the paperback is better.

  • It IS less paranormal fantasy that I thought it would be!

  • S o M a

    i will skip issues of comics based on the quality
    of the cover art. THEN if the art inside is not
    to my liking i will put it back.. unless of course
    its a cover by adi granov.. or m.turner.. or
    silvestri.. or m.choi.. or jo chen.. or …

    hmm ive lost my point..

    i tend to stay away from covers that portray
    a character in the book. i like to create my own
    visual.. one of the herbert-dune covers with leto
    the tyrant in half worm form totally ruined the
    fantasy for me.. from that point onwards i couldnt
    develop my own idea.. cus that absurd stone-like
    figure on the cover..

    *digress..

    admittedly i havent picked up any new books lately,
    only due to the tardiness of spook country and
    sandworms of dune transferring to mass/trade..

    *sigh

    how are felicia? you seemed “frazzled” lately.. ?

    *shrug

  • S o M a
  • S o M a

    *ahem..

    how are YOU, felicia.. ? [you seem .. distracted]

    *???

  • Dune is one of my favorite series of all time – RIP Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr.

  • Oh and I must agree. *sigh* the covers completely ruined it for me. What do you despise? By this you are truly known.

  • This is so off-topic (unless you consider that your 101 list is staring at me no matter which blog post I’m reading), but I was wondering if you’d given any thought to updating the list to make the items more finite.

    I still haven’t gotten mine posted, partially because some life circumstances have required that a whole section of the list be completely reconsidered, but I hope to work on it over the next week while I’m off school and get it posted when I return.

  • ramos

    ugh i cant find how to talk to you i just want to talk about the cheetos commercial theres LL THESE LINKS DAMN ARE U THAT FAMOUS ALEADY/

  • ramos

    HI

  • S o M a

    [hijack]

    Dune:

    -covers with people in the sand wearing white: i dont
    remember if f.herbert had ever described the exact color of
    the stillsuits but in my mind they were either a deep brown
    or completely black much like worn cow-hide leather, but
    with an extremely smooth texture. when a cover has the
    fremen [assumingly] wearing white hoods/shawls/capes i
    that doesnt correspond to the pragmatic/efficient nature
    of the sand people..

    -everytime i see a sandworm [obvious reasons] the size,
    shape and color of the sandworm is coerced by the cover
    artwork.

    -any technology shown. like erasmus or one of the titans
    or any robot or ship. the art makes it too specific and prevents
    my imagination from linking to the story [most of the time]

    .. so when continual movies like the dune-scifi series came out
    it was hard for me to believe any of it since i already had
    my own notions for how everything should look..

    i think ive posted in the forum about this ad nauseam…

    [/hijack]

    #86: ive managed to lose 5lbs
    #52: i do push-ups and crunches before breakfast.

  • Interesting responses to this topic, LOL. I am ok Soma, I am a little frazzled because I’ve overobligated myself A LOT this past month or so, and then my grandpa is pretty sick and a few other things have stressed me out a lot lately. Gratz on the 5 lbs, I really need to get on that bandwagon!

    Dana, thank you for reminding me about that, I will definitely put that on my list to re-do in the coming weeks. And start looking at it again as well, haha. I think I might movie it to a separate blog page because it’s a little obscure stuck down on the sidebar like that. 🙂

  • Mia

    Nice Soma! I’ve managed to lose 5 pounds since the holidays, too! And since my gym has TVs I’ve been watching sooo much CNN, I’m all into the American politics these days.

    Err wait, I was gonna comment on the post, not start chatting/hijacking…

    Some of those covers sure are unappealing. It’s amazing that publishers would let that happen. I know when I peruse my local bookstore, I’m always attracted by the cool covers, then I check the blurb at the back, and then I wish I had a pencil on me so I could write down the name and look at reviews on amazon (if I don’t impulse buy :S )

    “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” – Why the hell not? It’s just good business practice to appeal to typical buyer psychology. Procter and Gamble measures its products using “The First Moment of Truth”, the way a consumer responds to a product in the first seconds of seeing it, and “The Second Moment of Truth”, how they react to it the first time they use it. If I was in the publishing business, I’d certainly pay more attention to my strategy regarding covers.

  • Snid

    Heh, stop reading that crap chick-fantasy stuff and stick to good stuff like G.R.R. Martin, etc.

  • Ben

    Nice Freudian slip there Felicia– “I might movie it to a separate blog page because…”

    These book covers are really not my thing…however, if I had to look for major differences in the few examples you have posted over the last few months, it seems the paperback versions are sexier. Maybe paperback versions are attempting to have some cross market appeal in both the Sci-fi/Fantasy audience and the Harlequin Romance department.

    The artist for the new paperback version has some totally freaking crazy fantasy artwork on his site: http://www.johnjudepalencar.com/

    And lastly, I cant for the life of me find a larger picture of the new paperback cover—with the tiny pic you posted, it looks like Felicia Day holding an Easter egg in a revealing outfit. (Any chance you can photoshop your pic into the cover like you did with my favorite ghoulish cemetery web-skin? That was really funny. Maybe you can start a log of all these covers with your photo added. Or maybe Dustin’s, since he’s a redhead also….)

  • …kinda funny how the Dune series were mentioned since it is what i thought of when i read this… the example i’ be using to share my 2 quarters.

    this might not be so related, but, i actually am more about consistency rather than the cover of the book. so, in case such as a series of book (like Dune) i will get them all the same regardless how the cover will look.
    and… i usually get softcovers.. so basically it is what i will search for :0

  • Felicia, here’s a blog all about tragic Photoshopping – with a post that I think you’ll appreciate:

    http://photoshopdisasters.blogspot.com/2008/03/castles-in-air.html

  • I picked up the hardback and didn’t think the cover art represented what was inside well at all but it was CS Friedman and you can’t go wrong with anything she writes. Madness Season was one of my favorite books of all time.

  • M. Cookie

    Eh, this might be lost in blog comment obscurity forever, but I can’t help but respond. I’m comforted seeing there are other people that love the Coldfire trilogy. Gerald Tarrant was a wonderfully complex character, if it didn’t end so perfectly. I’d be asking for more and more sequels.

  • Kristýna

    about the really bad fantasy cover art … that’s the place http://www.goodshowsir.co.uk/

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