April 23, 2013

Book Covers: Drawings or Photos?

As I was writing a guest post for my blog tour for The Caveman and the Devil (schedule at the bottom of this post), I was thinking about book covers. Actually, I was writing a post about book covers and I'd like to hear some opinions.

Do you prefer drawn covers or photo covers? It seems that books with photo covers sell better and I'm wondering why. As you can see from the covers of my books, I'm very fond of drawn covers. Maybe it's because I loved reading mangas (okay, okay, I still do), I don't know.

Sometimes I don't buy books just because I can't stand the cover but I've definitely bought a lot of books because the cover hooked me. Mostly, these covers have been drawings. I'm not saying photo covers aren't appealing or anything, it's just that I always look at the other ones first. How does it work for you? Which books have you bought solely because the cover intrigued you? Have you ever refrained from buying a book because of a cover?


So, I upgraded to a google plus account. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do now. Anyone who wants me to add them to my circle?


Image courtesy of [anankkml] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Caveman and the Devil will release soon (only one more week!). Joyfully Jay will do a giveaway on May 1st. Here's the rest of the blog tour schedule:

May 6
Review at Busy Mom Book Reviews

May 7
Review at Sweet-n-Sassi

May 9
Guest Post and Review at Sinfully Sexy Books

May 10
Guest Post and Review at What's on the Bookshelf

May 11
Review at Growing Up Little

May 14
Guest Post at the Purple Rose Tea House (Charlie Cochet)

June 2
Guest Post at Lex Chase


  1. I definitely prefer drawings. I've bought several books just because they had a P.L. Nunn cover!

    1. Hi Susan!

      Thanks for stopping by! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who prefers drawings.

  2. I like both drawn and photo covers. If the cover's pleasing to the eye, has striking colors (and some pastel schemes are lovely) and the typeface is sharp and clean...I'll look. In general, though, I think drawn covers are trickier to get right. Cartoonish characters suggest (to me) a "light" book. Fun, maybe fluffy, a quick and breezy read. Not all books with drawn covers are that kind of read, but that's what I think of. Maybe it's my comic book childhood, before the advent of graphic novels like Watchmen or manga that I now read. Childhood influences linger.

    My personal experience with covers has been mixed. Most of my covers have been photo manipulations. In the draft phase, you might get a few options to choose from and that's easier to work with than a drawn cover, where both times the artist provided one work-up and that was it. I don't know if my sales reflect the cover art or the story type, though.

    While I love the idea of drawn covers, and come from a science-fiction/fantasy tradition rich with amazing paintings and drawings done for cover art, that tradition hasn't carried over quite as much to ebooks, where thumbnails--not hardcovers and paperbacks--are the size of the images that must catch readers' eyes.

    Interesting question!

    1. Yes, I can see what you mean with the childhood influences. I have been very lucky with my covers because the artists always seem to get what I want for the book. The best example is Anne Cain with the cover for "Secret Chemistry". It has everything I wanted (and I still love this cover to pieces).

      I haven't thought about the fact that the cover is mostly seen in thumbnails and still has to manage to draw the reader in.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Tali. It's always thought-provoking.

  3. Hi Chris T. Kat! I don't really have a preference. Mosty I buy books based on the author or the description. Well that was a big help to you wasn't it? LOL. I miss you.

    1. Hey Dizzy, it's good to see you around.

      It is helpful! I'm very cover-oriented, so it's good to see other people basing their purchases on something different.

      I miss you too! And I also miss writing the stories with DS relationships, I really need to get back to those.

  4. There does seem to be a bias against drawings if it's contemporary fiction, unless it's an abstract drawing or non-life-like person. I think when you get into sci-fi/fantasy, the bias isn't there as much because it's traditional to see drawings.

    For me, I'm much more against bad real-picture covers that are poorly photoshopped or stock photos that just looks stuck on there. Also, how many male chests can you see before it all just looks the same and loses impact (sometimes I think I'm in the minority on that). So, yes, I have passed over a book based on the cover (if it's been an author I didn't know), but much more so on photo covers than drawing covers.

    I'm interested to hear more people weigh in on this. Thanks for bringing this up.

    1. I agree about drawings in contemporary fiction. I've always been a fantasy fan, maybe that's why I prefer drawn covers.

      Yes, me too. I get why people like the naked torso pictures but they just don't do a thing for me.

      Carolyn, thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  5. I try not to judge a book by it's cove; trite but true. There is a publisher that uses extensively computer generated covers that look like badly drawn Barbie and/or Ken posed on their covers; hate those covers but would have missed some very good stories if I let the cover make my buying decision. I like beautiful artwork on a cover and a nice real guy pic is good too but they don't make me buy something. I do snort occasionally as I see the same guy in nearly the same pose over and over again. So my advise is not to blow off the cover entirely but spend your efforts on content and you will have lots of happy readers.

    1. Nancy, thank you for stopping by and weighing in on the topic.