What makes a good cover?
There is no definitive answer to that question because like a lot of other things in writing, the answer is subjective. Ask 10 different people, get 10 different answers, possibly more. So going about designing my book cover is proving to be a challenge. I want to avoid anything trite or way overdone...I'm hoping to represent the important aspects of the story while evoking the right emotions.
Sounds easy, huh?! ;o)
A cover is almost like a setting...because it's the first element of a book to set the tone or mood of a story. If you see a cover with shades of black and non-smiling faces draped in shadow, you know right away it's not going to be an upbeat, feel-good type of story. However, if that's the kind of book you want, covers with bright, fun colors and smiling people--possibly pastries--will likely catch your eye.
The importance of this choice cannot be overstated. If I have a crap cover, readers will think I wrote a crap story. This seems a little unfair since that's not necessarily true...great covers can hold crap, too...but that is the world we live in.
This weekend I had a meeting with girlfriends ranging from 18 to my age. I asked them about their favorite YA-PR book covers and why they liked them so much. We had some great conversations about cover elements that did and did not work. I showed them my horribly drawn sketches and they didn't point & laugh. I tried to get them to make some sketches of their own, but that idea was not very popular. I loved hearing what they had to say and it was great to get their insight.
I still don't have a firm concept yet, but my rough ideas are definitely less rough. =)
PS: My first novel, Solitary Sky, is coming out in September! =D
I will post details here. ;o)