Now I feel like a douche.
Marketing is part of it. It’s a half and half. If you’re not selling/marketing your book with some part of truth to it, you’ll end up falling into the cracks for having misleading the reader.
It’s more like it’s tough to market in general, and I know this from first hand experience.
Even with the aesthetic of the book cover, there is still some part of symbolism in there. It really doesn’t make sense to show a random banana with saturated colors all over the place in a very serious and dramatic novel about serial killers.
I remember reading a series that I didn’t expect to be really dark until I read the summary. It was really decent, it looks like a typical slice-of-life, chicklit story with sunny clouds and party balloons all over the place. But actually, it was a thriller horror that takes place in a party and one by one people were going missing every minute. Colors are there to mislead the readers a bit, but the party thing is what highlighted it to be the main of the story. This is a thriller-horror after all.
Humans are good at easily filtering out what they want to see things. Aesthetics are cool and symbolism plays part on it, considering that most people would look at the title and cover first, you really want to shout what yours is about and show it’s unique, not like some other cover that makes it look generic.
Being a reader, I actually don’t like reading books that have a real person/actor on the front cover. It’s actually a turn off for me. I will hardly ever have a book that has a face with anyone on it and tend to avoid it whether consciously or not. However, like with your book, I will likely read it since it’s an illustrated character and has a unique format to it. It does give me a feeling that I am reading like a superhero comic, even though it isn’t.
I actually don’t think your book was misleading to look like a comic book. It’s actually pretty well done!
But yes, think of it as this: why is it that beautifully illustrated games don’t always get the praise? Likely their game format in general is bad and it simply just baited the player to play the game for the visuals. In the end, the player becomes bored since there’s not much for the player to do in that game so they drop it. Then, there are those simplistically(OR uniquely styled) illustrated games yet everyone gets hooked easily. It’s more about the works of it. The eye candy is nice, but it has to have some function to as to why they decided to go for that sort of style.
You were being logical, actually
I did want my cover to be click baiting more than having a not-so-obvious meaning to it. I love symbolism, but I also like it to attract readers.
Also, the title font is Mistral, which resembles casual handwriting – like an illicit phone number scrawled on a bar napkin?
Handwriting fonts are tricky, but this one is simple and thick enough to stay legible in a Wattpad thumbnail, at least in its largest use as a title.
Also, I made the lettering hot pink, which connotes loud, feminine, and unapologetically queer – other elements of the story. I’ve similarly amped up the color and contrast of the image, both to match this campy tone and because anything grayer would fade as a thumbnail.
Tl, dr: font and color matter.
Admittedly, I thought more about aesthetics than symbolism while making this cover, but of course there’s still quite a bit of meaning behind it.
The pendant is the item that kickstarts the plot and is depicted pretty much as it appears in the story, a finely-wrought gold item on a gold chain with a solid blue light trapped inside. No particular reason for it being vaguely heart-shaped (it was the closest I found to my mental image of it), but in hindsight it adds a nice irony because it’s an object made by the bad guys to enslave their own people by trapping their free will inside it. A bit like mockery.
The icy cave relates to the land of the bad guys, the titular Colorless Land where everything is snow and ice. However, that land is discolored and overly bright whereas this cave is more dimly lit and blue, and from this perspective it looks like a tunnel. One of the main characters escapes from the Colorless Land at the beginning of the story and a large part of the plot is about him escaping his pursuers, so that image can also resemble his way from the Colorless Land into freedom, a place where things are still icy but no longer over-bright and discolored.
The font is kind of a typical fantasy font, the type you’d find on an epic/medieval fantasy book cover. Which is exactly why I chose it.
That’s it… I think?
honestly, I think it comes down to marketing… there are so many covers that suck me in and when I read the book, it isn’t as good as the cover…
My cover has fireworks in the background, as symbolism of the spark between two people. I don’t necessarily think it’s the most eye-catching, but it does the job. My story is about two neighbours that go through life on different paths and each time they connect with each other, they marinade in the chemistry that is between them.
The Element of Life
The story is about a seventeen year old named Jasmine who develops powers to bring things to life.
Feel of the cover: I wanted readers to get a sense that this story could be a fun story to read. Yes it’s a fun story, but it’s a little dark. I feel that the colors on this cover perfectly represent that. The girl jumping also helps. The next to sequels get darker. The cover I made for the third book is definitely not like this.
Girl jumping: The girl jumping is Jasmine the main character. As she has powers to control life, I felt a picture of her jumping outside over a setting of water showed something lifelike.
Setting of cover: There is a scene in this chapter that takes place at a lake. I figured this could work.
Color of the letters: Not much meaning behind that. I just thought it looked cool that the colors of the letters were similar to the colors of the sky. And the black bars help make it work.
I must admit, that happens. That’s pretty much the thing with covers. I see a really good cover but the summary is strangely odd or when I read the story, it’s not as I expected it.
I remember reading a really oddly named (published) book about an American girl who dresses up as a man and runs to Mexico. Pretty okay book, but the cover and title was rather questionable.
You don’t really need to have a mega-symbolistic cover. From mostly what I believe is that it just has to make sense. Usually when I’m up for it, I read the summary to make sense of the cover.
Sounds like a very cute cover by the way!
My book is a single epic spanning multiple volumes, so I wanted to keep my covers super simple, but complimentary. I also wanted to really, really capture the mood of each volume—colour choice, object and object placement all played into it. I have spent probably close to four hours just finding the right picture to crop for each of my covers.
This was the result
Title: Since my story is a dream sequence, the title Thin Walls symbolizes the thin walls between dreams and reality. Reality, though often twisted and altered, usually finds it way into our dreams somehow and therefore the title represents the thin wall through which reality slips into our sleeping minds.
The girl on the cover represents two things. The girl on the cover represents The Girl, though, in that she is a symbol of the story itself. She is an integral character and the girl in the photo is matched to look and resemble her as much as possible. The Girl is a symbol of the story, author, and MC and it was necessary to represent her on the cover.
Aside from representing a character, though, there is something specific to the way the girl is presented on the cover. She has her back to the viewer and she is alone in the middle of a large field. This is to represent the loneliness and distant feelings of the narrator.
The Whole Image:
Even though it’s just a simple field with trees and a girl standing alone in the middle, when I chose the picture, there was something off-putting, almost creepy about the landscape combined with the stationary girl. There’s no emotion evident and the landscape is wide and almost blank. It’s supposed to symbolize the dream itself, which, though it mirrors reality, and may even look real, has an almost odd or off-putting feeling to it. It also symbolizes the near nightmarish disturbing vibe of the dream.
All in all, the cover is to symbolize the feeling and message of the story as well as giving a bit of visual information about one of the characters.
Black and white. The world is uniform, the world has become extremely boring and dull, every single piece of culture, every single state structure, lifestyle, etc. has been replaced by propaganda versions of itself. Everything is extremely white and black, both metaphorically and literally, as everyone dresses a formal uniform. Metaphorically, the oppression is so ridiculously extreme that every single aspect of life has become a source of fear. You can’t walk two steps before finding propaganda. Posters, TV, Radio, Art, the newspaper, the books, videogames, everything is a source of blatant propaganda. Everything has been made uniform. Schools, Factories, Universities, etc. no longer have names, but numbers. Most things have boring names, the social media you enter everyday to chat with friends and update your status? Is called Social media. Just Social Media. What brand is your phone? Worldwide Mobile Phone Production Administrative Center, or WMPPAC for short (What? Did you expect the acronym to mean anything more?)
When talking about a country, we refer to it as “Local Authority”, “I travelled to Paris, French Local Authority”, “They will probably like that food on the Mexican Local Authority”
Everything is so black and white, the government openly embraced that, so the flag is literally black and white, so are people’s clothes, and anything that the government does will probably have those colors as signature
So, the entire planet, drawed and painted with just two colors
Welcome to the New World
thanks! I changed it shortly after this comment because well, marketing lol
It’s a book. Heavy, thick, old, book. That has feelings.
I don’t have access to my images since I’m on my phone, but the cover with the most symbolism for my books is my Guardian of Calandria cover. It features a Triskelion symbol I created with red, green, and blue gems set in each of the spirals.
The symbol is the emblem of the Guardians in the book. I picked it because to me it represents unity (which I beleive is also the Celtic meaning of the symbol but not 100% positive since it’s been a long time since I researched symbols for the book) with the way the spirals interconnect and unity plays a big role in the book. The colors represent the three types of guardians there are and when the three types combine their powers theres nothing on the earth stronger. I laughed the first time someone accused me of stealing from Teen Wolf (apparently it used the same symbol) and even asking why I had a fidget spinner on the cover
The symbol itself is on a red background because my magic users all have red hair. Doesn’t matter their skin color anyone can have magic, red hair is a sign of magic in a person and the brighter the red, the stronger their magic. So the background color represents that.
I design my covers and they rely heavily on symbolism. Starting with the fonts, I wanted the text “RED” to be as orderly, yet flourished as possible because that describes my main character who is a bit of a sociopath. In the book, she appears to be a little narcissistic, but she’s always put together and well dressed. And no other font makes me feel as bold, self-important, yet elegant as this one. For the second font “The Asylum Boys” they are very loose and fun, even chaotic. They’re all criminals but they’re still boys, which is why it looks a little devious yet young. As for the other text, a large portion of the story is translated from fantasy to sci-fi. Which means I really wanted to see what fantasy would be like in the context of sci-fi. So I had to choose a very slick, futuristic font that didn’t disrupt the whole image and I think this one was very good.
As for the colors, It’s gold and red because it’s obviously, RED and because it’s the start, the beginning of something rich and epic. I couldn’t think of a better color for the second part than gold.
Going through the symbols on the cover individually:
Gears: A large portion of the first book takes place in a district called Rimnin which was built upon massive moving gears to generate power. Kind of like New York being built on a water turbine.
Tread: A lot the story moves from place to place, usually in a car. What better way to show movement than low key car tread?
Knives: The prologue, the first scene where you meet the main character Red, is where she is assassinating a group of cannibals that are using her organization to do evil. Essentially, they are saying that they are doing all of these acts in the name of her, and so she kills them all with a knife.
Bones/skull: Another large villain of this story is a necromancer that seems to be hunting Red, leaving tons of bodies in her wake as she does so.
The pawns: In the book, there is this chess game called Xhitic, which is highly symbolistic for the rest of the series. The purpose of the game is to end your other players through your pieces which can either kill, convert, or join your team. Killing removes them from the board, converting means they do whatever the piece was intended to do but backward, and joining means the piece is now on your team. The symbolism has a lot to do with a couple of characters, but specifically with a character attempting to pull of a heist by convincing high ranking officials that he’s on their side before he steals all their money.
The cards: The cards have a lot to do with another character and the revealing of fortunes/gambling. The cards, however, are also said to be cursed and do the opposite of what they’re supposed to. (Also referencing the game of Xhitic a little here)
The Butterflies: a gang/syndicate that are threatening to overthrow the crown empress. They have a lot of symbolism as well because the butterflies are essentially giant vampires that drained the blood of humans and left them to die, and the whole gang is based on that creature. (Are you sensing the symbolism on how destructive they are???)
@EverestNeverlynn that is a really lovely cover
Because I tend to liken my MC to a marionette. She rails against her restraints and feels like her entire life is controlled by other people or forces. The hands indicate her life being played about like a cat’s cradle or marionette.
Another interpretation is the entangled lives affected by the stealing of a name: shown by threads wrapped around different hands. And of course, the intangible strings attached to a name; relationships, duties, responsibilities etc and having to be careful of the knot you can end up with when weaving in so many lies.
It was a rush job of a cover but it’s been growing on me. It’s so simple and versatile in that it can be interpreted in so many ways (even more than I’ve already mentioned).
Thanks! Wanna see the rest?!
These are the rest of the covers that I did for the series. I’m absolutely in LOVE with them. If I were going to self publish, I wouldn’t mind using these ones at all.
It’s a picture of a police investigation after 2 murders in my hood.