Friday, July 15, 2011

Similar Covers

My epublishing rant of the day--try not to have a cover that looks almost identical to a cover of another book put out by the same house.

Today I got an email notification about a publishing house I follow. The latest book in the lineup, by an author I know from message boards, looks almost identical to a book published by another author six weeks ago. They have similar font and font color for the title, a similar font for the author's name, and both are black covers with a single, drop-shadowed photography element (stock, I'm guessing) about in the center. In both cases, very little about the book is shown by the cover, which is also a problem, but that's an argument for a different day. However, the end result is that the new book looks as if it is perhaps the second in a series to the first book, and I know this not to be the case.

Covers matter. Similar covers mean similar content. When you see a James Patterson novel, it looks like every other James Patterson novel, and there's a reason for that. It screams to the buyer, "Similar book." The same is true of how books in a given genre often look the same, and why you'll find the greatest variety in cover design browsing the "fiction" shelves of the bookstore instead of the "mystery" "romance" "sci fi" shelves.

A good cover designer and an experienced house will know this, and they will make sure this doesn't happen (I can't count how many times we turned down covers because they were too similar to others in our lineup). But with some of the less-experienced e-presses, it may benefit an author to double-check this herself. 

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