Monday, June 28, 2010
Cover Critique: The Headless Torso
Let me preface this post by saying that my design critiques of these covers are in no way, shape or form a reflection on the author, the content or the publisher. I know the authors have very little, if any, control over the design. These are strictly my thoughts stemming from my design experience.
This week's critique isn't about a single cover, but more of a general trend in paranormal romance covers. What is that trend you ask? That's right, the headless torso. Here's how I picture a conversation between the book designer and the marketing department going regarding a cover similar to Lion's Heat.
Designer: Here's the first proof of the cover design. We've got the toned pecs, washboard abs, and tawny skin featured prominently.
Marketing: Hmmmm. I don't like that he doesn't have a head. I think it will be disconcerting for readers if we don't show his head. We want them to know it's there.
Designer: I think it's implied that he does, in fact, have a head and this is not a book about a headless gentlemen.
Marketing: Well, you know what they say about "assume". I think maybe you should fix it so that we can see some of his chin and mouth. That way, it will be clear that he has a head. When I look at him without it, all I can see is the headless horseman. The headless horseman is not sexy.
Designer: Yes, a black-clad, sword-wielding, pumpkin-headed murderer is decidedly unattractive.
Marketing: Agreed. So just add some chin.
Designer: You want me to re-crop this image so we can just see some of his chin?
Marketing: Yes. I want readers to be aware that he has a head.
Designer: walks away muttering They'll know he has a head, they're going to be reading all about both his heads when they buy the book. (Silly designers, minds always in the gutter;)
An hour later...
Designer: Here you go. I re-cropped the image and you can see his chin and a little of his mouth.
Marketing: Excellent, so much better. He's much better looking now, don't you think?
Designer: Oh yes, he wasn't much to look at before, but that chin really catapults him into sex-god territory.
Marketing: Right you are. Glad we could see eye to chin on this. Eye to chin. Get it?
Designer: Your humor never fails to impress.
Marketing: I know. Next project!
Thus, as a result of conversations like this, I present to you the now semi headless torso:
Seen a cover that's either gorgeous or absurd? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's have a look!
Posted by Jenny at 9:53 AM