A compendium of copycat covers

There are an infinite number of possible book covers. There is a somewhat smaller number of good book covers. It was inevitable that, given the number of books I come across, I would start to see some that were very similar to others.

Dutch angles! They’ve been around forever, but it’s starting to get out of control.


The title is too big!

Torn covers!

When I browse through the coming soon lists, covers like these give me serious déjà vu. These categories don’t even take into account book covers that have similar color schemes, layouts, and fonts. As I looked for covers to put this post together, I found myself finding new cliches that I could have included (black feathers falling on a pastel background, broken glass incorporated into the title, dark figures walking down a road, covers with so much going on in the background that I couldn’t actually read the title, etc.) This post could have been huge!


  1. Ha ha! So true! Over in YA they seem to get obsessed with feet (bare, shoes, flip flops, etc) and mason jars (usually with a butterfly in it). I always wonder how much control an author has over the cover and I suspect not much or they would realize how little selling power some of the covers have. Some of my favorite covers (another post idea!) are Perks of Being a Wallflower, Ready Player One, Night Circus, and the Glass Castle. Each matches what the book is trying to say perfectly. What are some of your favorites?
    Also, I am currently reading Fiendish. The cover is deliciously spooky. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18667948-fiendish


  2. Some big name authors have creative control, but there are very few who can veto a cover. Last year, a number of science fiction writers (Jim C. Hines, John Scalzi) started doing parody covers by posing in the ridiculous postures artists use for female characters. Hines would later post about which muscles he pulled on his blog.

    I like covers with some wit to them, that can capture the essence of a story without giving it away. One of my favorite witty covers is this edition of Kafka's The Metamorphosis: http://www.amazon.com/Metamorphosis-New-Translation-Susan-Bernofsky/dp/0393347095/

    A good cover can signal how a book is meant to be read. I wrote a post last year about how two different covers to The Night Guest would have had me reading the book very differently: http://summerreadingproject.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-tale-of-two-covers.html

    The New York Times has a series called “Book Covers: Before and After” (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2014/02/05/books/05before-and-after.html?_r=0) that has various book designers talk about how they came up with the final version of the cover. It's a great series.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s