Face(book)

You’ve heard the phrase, “never judge a book by it’s cover.” But how many of us have taken a single glance at a book and decided whether or not we want to read it? I know I have. As much as we hate to admit it, appearance matters especially when it comes to novels . Self-published and established authors alike always struggle to find the right cover for their baby. Should they go for illustrations or digital photography? I faced similar questions when I was shopping around to find the right cover artist for my upcoming science fiction book Metallic Heaven. I opted for an amazing cover with digital photography designed by the talented artists at Deranged Doctor Design. (Check out the cover below)

Metallic Heaven Cover

Metallic Heaven Cover

Selecting the right cover is a talent, but even some of the most beloved works of literature have had some interesting face lifts over the years. Check out some classic covers and some more contemporary ones. Do the faces of these books do the content justice? I’ll let you be the judge.

Jane Austen novels–Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815) Northanger Abbey (1818) and Persuasion (1818)

When Jane Austen began publishing novels in the early 1800’s, covers weren’t that important. It’s been over 200 years since Sense and Sensibility first took the world by storm and that novel–along with Austen’s five other books–have been given a variety of different covers that have highlighted the novels’ romance, intrigue and gothic themes. Below is a sampling of the covers.

Sense and Sensibility 1994 Cover

Sense and Sensibility 1994 Cover

 

Sense and Sensibility 1995 Cover

Sense and Sensibility 1995 Cover

 

Sense and Sensibility 1998 Cover

Sense and Sensibility 1998 Cover

 

Sense and Sensibility 2004 Cover

Sense and Sensibility 2004 Cover

 

Pride and Prejudice 1983 Cover

Pride and Prejudice 1983 Cover

 

Pride and Prejudice 1995 Cover

Pride and Prejudice 1995 Cover

 

Pride and Prejudice 2009 Cover

Pride and Prejudice 2009 Cover

 

Mansfield Park 1992 Cover

Mansfield Park 1992 Cover

 

Mansfield Park 2006 Cover

Mansfield Park 2006 Cover

 

Mansfield Park 2012 Cover

Mansfield Park 2012 Cover

 

Emma 1984 Cover

Emma 1984 Cover

 

Emma 1994 Cover

Emma 1994 Cover

 

Emma 2012 Cover

Emma 2012 Cover

 

Northanger Abbey 1992 Cover

Northanger Abbey 1992 Cover

 

Northanger Abbey 2005 Cover

Northanger Abbey 2005 Cover

 

Northanger Abbey 2010 Cover

Northanger Abbey 2010 Cover

 

Persuasion 1993 Cover

Persuasion 1993 Cover

 

Persuasion 2005 Cover

Persuasion 2005 Cover

 

Persuasion 2011 Cover

Persuasion 2011 Cover

 

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (1936)

Known for its epic love story, Gone With the Wind’s cover has gone through a number of changes throughout the years, but one thing always remains the same: the large, bombastic title. Some of the covers have a Harlequin Romance novel vibe to it. Others are simple and direct.

1936 Hardcover Edition

1936 Hardcover Edition

 

1991 Paperback

1991 Paperback

 

1993 Paperback

1993 Paperback

 

1999 Paperback

1999 Paperback

 

2007 Paperback

2007 Paperback

 

2011 Paperback

2011 Paperback

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)

A modern literary classic, To Kill a Mockingbird has received many cover makeovers throughout the years including special anniversary editions. Aside from the 2005 edition, which features a picture of Scout, all of the covers present a variation of the same theme: a tree in the left hand corner of the page with a bird.

Here they are in order:

Original 1960's Cover

Original 1960’s Cover

 

1962 Mass Market Paperback Cover

1962 Mass Market Paperback Cover

 

1989 Paperback Cover

1989 Paperback Cover

 

1999 Anniversary Edition

1999 Anniversary Edition

 

2005 Paperback Cover

2005 Paperback Cover

 

2006 Paperback Cover

2006 Paperback Cover

 

2010 Paperback Cover

2010 Paperback Cover

 

I could go on for days and days with this post, but I won’t. In short, covers are supremely important for marketing purposes. They help readers gain a better understanding of what the book is about. Even some of the classics listed above have had terrible covers. So when it comes time to publish your book, take some time to track down the right cover artist to bring your vision for your book to life.

 

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