What makes a fantasy cover…


As an addendum to the post on my Australian and UK covers:

Over on the Orbit US blog from Tim Holman, they have a graph of the items that have been on 2008 US fantasy book covers, graded according to popularity. Here they are below, in no particular order. See if you can guess what two things topped the list (by far!).

They included urban fantasy but not those books that were more urban paranormal romance than fantasy.

The list: Unicorns, swords, castles and citadels, horses, damsels in distress, staffs, glowy magic, guns, bows and arrows, completely dark cover of meaninglessness, tattoos, dragons, boats, elves/fae, stilettos, maps, elves-dwarves-goblins-orcs, wolves.

As several have pointed out, they neglected to add in cleavage and pecs, alas.

So what’s your guess? Now pop over to The Publisher Files and see if you are correct.

And just for fun, here is my German cover of Havenstar.
Wolf, tick
Castle, tick
Staff, tick
Horses, tick
Dragon, tick
Damsel in distress, half a tick. She does look worried.
Sword, tick
Castle, tick
Glowy magic, hmm, well there is a rainbow.
No bows and arrows, but plenty of armour. The odd thing is that armour did not feature in the story, but bows and arrows were quite important!

Anyway, it’s a cover that has as its motto: why confine yourself to one item when you can have a lot?

Actually, I have a sneaking love of this cover, I will admit. It would make me pick up the book in a bookshop!


What makes a fantasy cover… — 4 Comments

  1. I've noticed Orbit UK covers all seem lately to have some bloke in a hooded cloak – even your new one has him. Other, of course, than the Mirage Makers covers which were all swords.

  2. Leith: The way Orbit described the dark cover: "They essentially looked like someone had taken a generic photostock, blurred it into oblivion, and spiked the level of darkness.

    "And voila! You’ve got a Photoshop for Beginner’s Cover. Hence, the “completely dark covers of meaninglessness” category. Shadowy, mysterious covers are menacing. No?"

    TD: Of course – they forgot "cloaks" as one of their categories!!"

  3. I would have put dragons on top, but they came fourth. Oh well.

    I have been complaining about Orbit's guy in a cloak pictures for a while now. 5 books by Karen Miller and now one by Glenda, have shown a cloaked figure – the cloak generally seems to be blowing in some nebulous breeze.

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