Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The importance of cover art?

One of my favourite crime fiction-related websites is the excellent EuroCrime (which I occasionally review for) run by the irrepressible Karen Meek. For the blog part of the website, Karen often features various European crime novel cover art. It's always interesting to see the different ways publishers in various countries try to steer the readers attention towards a book.

Inspired by her efforts, and by the fact that one of New Zealand's best-kept creative secrets (in English language countries at least), crime writer Paul Cleave, is increasingly being published in a variety of European and Asian languages - each edition with its own specific cover - I thought I would share this latest cover art (above) from the Polish edition of Cleave's outstanding debut novel THE CLEANER, which is available this week. Quite striking, in my opinion.

What do you think of the cover? Have you read THE CLEANER or any of Cleave's other stories? How important do you think cover art is, in terms of grabbing a casual readers attention or the book's success? Do we in fact judge a book by its cover, at least somewhat?


  1. Craig - Thanks for sharing this cover! You know, I'd never thought much about cover art, really. I, personally, don't often choose books that way. But when I first got published, the publisher of that book gave me much to think about in terms of how people may or may not be drawn to covers. It is interesting, I think, how often it happens that people stop and pick up a book because of the cover...

    And folks, I heartily agree with Craig about Euro Crime. If you're not familiar with it, do check it out!

  2. I love that cover. Paul & I were having a conversation about cover art the other day, comparing the covers of the different editions of Blood Men, some of which were very ho hum. Some publishers try hard, others don't seem to give covers much thought. It can be rather disheartening for the writer as the cover makes a big difference in the pick-up-ability of a book. I'd definitely pick this one up!

  3. I think that the cover itself is quite awesome and the fact that the lady in the blade looks a bit like Denise Richards helps.



    I don't know that Joe was ever described in the book as looking like that.

    However, I think it's the first time a cover for The Cleaner has had a face on it suggesting what Joe might look like.

    And as an aside, because Paul has an amazing web designer, you can actually check out all his book covers on the English side of his website ... handily found under the link 'The Covers'.

    The Poland cover will go up soon, I'm sure.

    Cheers Dave(B)

  4. Nice cover work :D

    Usually I don´t *buy* books based on covers, I go for writers I know or writers my blog friends have recommended. But once in a while I buy on impulse, and then the cover may pull me in.

  5. Craig,

    It is a striking cover.

    I'm with Dorte h on the importance of covers. I normally look for the author and frequently never even look at the cover until after I've purchased the book.

    The cover might be important if I'm looking at authors and titles I'm not familiar with. Then a cover might at least get me to take a closer look at the book.

  6. As a designer I must admit that book covers strongly influence my initial attraction to a book, but I do read all of the book reviews on my favorite websites, regardless of the cover art. In the end it won't affect my choice to buy it if the reviews are positive. The covers probably affect general buying habits of the public overall though, especially in this time-pressed culture, where people just don't have time to read synopses and reviews, and just buy on impulse. Paul Cleave's cover is striking because of the bold, cleverly done image and because it summons the idea of a TV show or film as well. It makes great eye candy and the public responds to such enticing images. Thanks.

  7. ps: The Rap Sheet has a terrific post on this as well. http://therapsheet.blogspot.com/2010/12/face-off.html Cheers!

  8. The cover is awesome I do often not always but often pick up books because of the cover. For example the cover of Infected by Scott Sigler hooked me totally. It's amazing and lucky for me and his other readers the book is amazing also. A good cover may not mean the book itself is great. But often it will lead to a reader picking up a book reading the blurb liking it and getting it for that reason which leads to new authors discovered. Authors we may never have read otherwise.