After yesterday's post on cover design, I have received some helpful feedback and some not so helpful feedback. One thing that was clear though, is that my cover needs a lot of work. I have therefore decided to go back to the drawing board, but I will continue to work on it myself. My latest effort can be seen at the bottom of this post.
The main problem when coming up with a cover, is that there really are not that many that are very good. I am not solely talking self publishing here, but the majority of published books, for my mind, do not have very good covers. It seems that the best covers contain just two components - the title of the work and the authors name. Of course, this is only good if the name is famous enough to sell itself.
Why do I think that this is so (apart from my personal reaction to books covers)? Well, it is really to do with the nature of writing fiction. The author does not so much paint a picture in the reader's mind, but merely provides the necessary "code" for the reader to paint their own picture. It is a very subjective business and to try and sum up a book into one cover picture is far too objective. An image is real, it is fixed and immovable. Imagination is ethereal and fluid. The two simply do not go together.
So should we do away with the cover, it is after all, the title and the blurb that provides the true cover (the initial picture that the reader forms in their imagination)? Unfortunately, it is not that simple. We do have to have something, but we must also remember that our covers are mere placeholders for the day when they can be dispensed with altogether and our name alone will be all that is required to advertise our book.