I should be an analyst because I love to see changes in the market place. One change I've noticed recently is the humble book cover. I'm talking about YA book covers at the moment. They are starting to become a little more contemporary.
Three years ago all the YA covers featured girls in gowns. Seriously, ever second book had a girl in a gown. I even wrote an article about it and the article appeared in the NSW Writers Centre member magazine.
This was around the same time I was submitted Little Red Gem to agents and publishers. It's a paranormal story because it features magic, astral projection, and ghosts, but it kept getting rejected because, and I quote, "editors are suffering from paranormal fatigue". So I self published the book because I believe it is a damned good story. And readers agreed.
The point is, publishers and agents at the time wanted contemporary books. And rightly so. A market clogged with one genre is like only having one type of food to eat. Readers need variety. But I wasn't about to go "contemporizing" all my novels. And as a side note, guess what agents are asking for now? Not just paranormal but a nice mix of both contemporary and genre fiction.
Anyway, it's a few years later and I'm trawling through online sites and I notice a new set of book covers. They look very much like contemporary books. But here's the interesting bit. A lot of these books are still paranormal because the characters are dead or they're living inside people's dreams or there are ghosts - all the elements that make it paranormal. But look at the difference in covers.
There are still books with covers that clearly define the genre, yet from a quick look a lot of these titles were dystopian or sci-fi. It seems indeed, that we are not meant to judge a book by its cover. Because it seems that the book cover is a judge of what the current marketing trend is. Interesting.
I've spent the past few months updating my book covers and it seems that if contemporary covers are the norm then I may have to update them further. What do you think? Do these covers work?
So what do you think? Should books reflect the content or the market trend? I'd love to hear your thoughts. And have you read any books that the cover was a disaster but the content was awesome?