As far as using pictures of real people for cover art, at least get someone talented enough with Photoshop or whatever image editing program you're using, so the cover art looks good. In the article below, I see a guy green screened onto a crappy background image. Art Department? You can do better! Covers sell books!
Sent to you by Kev via Google Reader:
via Speculative Horizons by firstname.lastname@example.org (James) on 9/6/10Seems the paperback cover for City of Ruin has really split opinion amongst fans.
Mark has highlighted some of the negative reactions to the image, and I've added a few more:
"The Harlequin dude must go. It's not as bad as the infamous Patrick Rothfuss gay cover..."And so on. Now, I don't have a problem at all with these comments - everyone reacts differently to cover art (although the first comment is misguided in suggesting the cover would be better without the figure - it would be worse off both commercially and artistically if the figure was removed). But whatever.
"It looks absolutely dreadful, almost like a Harlequin Romance mated with and Urban Fantasy novel."
"It's horrendous. An utter failure. An abomination. My eyes are bleeding profusely as we speak."
"Wish publishers would steer away from this obsession with main characters on covers. It messes with the reader's heads. We can do our own imagining thanks, that's what we're here for."
It's the last comment that interests me though - why do readers hate it so much when an artist's representation of a character doesn't fit with their own?
I just find the psychology interesting. Everyone reacts to things differently - two people can read the same book and have two very different experiences. Hence why an artist's representation of a character won't fit everyone's image of how that person looks: it's their depiction.
Furthermore, it hardly matters does it? Just because the character on the new cover for your favourite book doesn't look at all like you imagined them, doesn't mean your own image is made redundant in any way. The depiction on the cover is just one person's image of that character - it doesn't have to be yours. You remain free to envisage that character however you like. And the publisher isn't trying to brainwash you with regards to what the character looks like, or spoil your own interpretation in any shape or form - to think that is just ridiculous (the only thought in the publisher's mind is to make the depiction of said character as widely appealing as possible).
I guess the point I'm trying to make here, is that I think it's unfair to slate a cover just because you don't like the depiction of the character.
Personally, I like the above cover. And no, Brynd doesn't look at all like I imagined him - but that's utterly irrelevent to me.