Bookish Confessions: Things On Book Covers I’m Sick Of (and some things I really love)

The cover is, of course, the first thing most people notice. A bad cover will make a reader pass it over. A good cover will reel them in. But, in my case, a repetitive cover, no matter how pretty, will usually make me pass. Unless I like the author or it’s part of a series I’m enjoying.

So, I’m writing this on a Saturday night, when my allergy shot is making me really sleepy and foggy. And, yet, I thought writing something fun like this would be an excellent use of my time as I fight to stay awake until my husband is done with his work. So I hope you have fun reading this!


Crowns

I like royalty in my fantasy as much as the next fantasy lover. Like witches and wizards and magic rings, royalty seems right up there on the “must have” list. All the political intrigue, when done really well, just kills me. I love the twists and turns and the things courtiers will stoop to, and the lengths royals will go to to either escape their destines or claim their thrones.

But I’m so sick of crowns on the cover. Most of them also tend to look awfully similar. Like the same crown was taken and then twisted a little, or given a new color, or a piece here was tweaked and a piece there was removed. There are so many of these that I now can’t tell one book apart from another. Seeing a crown on the cover usually has me clicking away from it or passing it over. If a crown is all they can come up with for a complex fantasy involving royalty, then I’m not sure it’s the right book for me.

People Staring Me Down

Look, this is just plain intimidating to me. I hate having fictional people stare at me. I don’t even like portraits. There’s just something weird about having fictional characters stare me down when I look at their book’s cover. It’s like they’re daring me to read it, or tuck it away and never look at it again. I don’t know why, but facing characters staring, unblinking at me, is just creepy.

The weirdest ones (to me) are the fantasy ones where the person staring me down is manipulating some magic. Are they about to curse me if I put their book down? And the glowing eyes…sheesh.

It might be fine and dandy if the lead character is meant to be an intimidating one, but I don’t really like my characters that way anyways.


Okay, so a list of two things isn’t bad. But it seems like I always see one or the other, and, frankly, it’s driving me a bit batty. It’s creepy being stared at and a little tiring to constantly be reading about royalty. But! There are some things I do love on book covers.

People Looking AWAY

I hate people staring me down, but I absolutely love seeing their backsides! It’s very annoying for me to see the face because it colors my personal idea of what a character looks like. Besides, them facing away makes me feel like they’re facing whatever is in the story and I’m being invited to follow along. A major plus for me is if they’re looking at some kind of looming structure. I don’t know why, but I adore buildings on covers.

Swords

While crowns annoy me even though I do love court and political intrigue, seeing a sword just makes me perk up because it usually means there’s a lot going on. Battle often involves some court intrigue, so it’s kind of a two for one kind of cover decoration. Besides that, the swords are usually just so pretty, all sharp edged and glinting. Sometimes dripping with blood. Sometimes piercing something. It really makes me want to know the why.

Groups of People

This really harkens back to the books I read back in high school when covers usually had groups of people, often on horseback (I think a lot of these were covers from the 90s). While too many characters can sometimes get too confusing or water down a story, I really like the camaraderie. I feel like too many books focus on a single character these days. While they often have companions, it’s usually told from one perspective or a select few and, somehow, I miss out on that group feeling. Indie fantasy books, though, usually do a fantastic job of crafting motley groups, so those stories really do scratch my itch, even if their covers tend to be, um, not exactly as appealing.

Illustration

Like those seen on chick lit and cozy mysteries. They’re just so cute and adorable! They make me smile and want to grab them into a big hug. They also tend to have some really great color on them, and I do love color on covers. They’re really eye catching to me. All those covers with solid covers or a few dark colors swirling together just make me feel a little bored, so I’m less likely to reach for them. A colorful chick lit or cozy mystery cover, though? Oh, yes, I’ll snatch it up.

Food

This seems kind of weird because I was and am super picky (my mom thinks I have overactive taste buds and likes to remind me of it all the time), but I really do love food. There are many things I can’t eat because they make me gag, so I guess I like to read about them. Of course, having a huge sweet tooth, any kind of dessert immediately gets my attention. I mean, with food that good looking on the cover, the book has to be delicious, too, right?


Clearly, there are lots of things I love on book covers, so, seriously, can the crowns and people staring intently from the covers just…die down a little? The people are kind of starting to freak me out. I mean, they could just be turned around…

What do you like or dislike on book covers?

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12 thoughts on “Bookish Confessions: Things On Book Covers I’m Sick Of (and some things I really love)

  1. I have been getting bored with books with one perspective too. It’s just sort of dull. I want a couple POVs in a book sometimes. Maybe even more. No more than four because then my little brain will melt!

    The other thing I am noticing lately are book covers with no people on the front but flowers going in and out of, or wound around, the title – it’s like the thing to do these day, I guess, but everyone is doing it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree. A single perspective gets boring and feels constraining. I always find myself asking what the other characters must think and feel about what’s going on. Though i have to agree that there’s such a thing as too many!

      Flowers on the cover sounds so pretty! I haven’t seen many, but I’ll be more on the lookout for them.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I tend to avoid covers with bones. Even though they’re usually styled quite nicely, it’s just too macabre for me. I’m not a big fan of real people on the cover, either. It just seems a bit creepier, but illustrations are great at helping to remove the feeling of someone watching me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting post. I do like covers with things in shadows, a person, a spaceship, a planet, a building. I don’t like covers with just letters, or with the face of the author (like the last one of Neil Gaiman, for example)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t really understand covers with just letters and the one of the author sounds weird. I like to think covers are there to catch a reader’s attention, so it should at least be a little decorative. Shadows are a really nice touch. It makes me feel like the story is popping out to get me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This was a fun read. You made me start thinking about what I liked and didn’t like as well. I never paid much attention to crowns but I think you’ve got me paying attention to them now. I’m also not a fan of covers with people staring me down. Definitely intimidating and a bit creepy.

    I love illustrations and the varying colors used in them. One of my favorite books and favorite covers is Before I Saw You by Emily Houghton. It’s colorful and I like the use of the silhouette.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! It took a lot of crowns to pass by before I noticed how they just kept popping up everywhere. I wonder where the idea of having characters stare intently from the cover came from. It’s just so creepy, and I hate feeling like they’re daring me to read their book.

      I had to look up Before I Saw You, and I have to agree! It’s a really gorgeous cover!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your complaint about people staring reminded that I was scared of people on covers as a child. I thought my fingers pressing against them would bother them and they’d chop off my fingers or somesuch!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That would definitely be scary! I recall not wanting to touch people on covers when I was really young, but I don’t think it was quite for the same reason as you. Staring people on covers is just so weird!

      Liked by 1 person

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