I'm pleased to see more discussion of cover art in the bloggosphere, first over on the Penguin Blog (and not Penguin blog) where there is a discussion of what goes into crafting hardcover and paperback book jackets, and now on the Eos blog, Eos Books: The Next Chapter, where Diana Gill says:
"Personally, I'd love for everyone to understand that the cover is to sell the book. To the reader, yes, but first and foremost to the buyer at the store and/or chain level--if they don't like the cover, it stands a much smaller chance of being seen by anyone else. So the cover is designed primarily to appeal to the buyer. After that, we want it to grab the readers' attention. And their hands. And particularly their wallets. That being said, we do want a gorgeous cover that will also reflect the book. Sometimes they succeed; sometimes, unfortunately, they don't."
She then goes on to a frank discussion of how the "girls-in-bikinis-riding-spaceships-and-dragons" sold despite the groans and complaints, which may be an uncomfortable truth at the heart of our genre. (Do core readers want science fiction and fantasy that looks like science fiction and fantasy?) Meanwhile, she uploads several interesting covers, including this gorgeous cover for A Canticle for Leibowitz, one of my recent favorites from John Picacio. (In fact, I bought the book again just for that cover - so, since I already had the earlier Bantam edition, that's at least one case where a title moved on cover art alone).
Meanwhile, I'm eager for opinions on our latest Stephan Martiniere illustration, this for Kay Kenyon's Bright of the Sky, and uploaded over on the Pyr blog. I opinion there that it may be my favorite Pyr cover to date, but five minutes after I posted the UPS man came with my copies of our just-in-from-the-printer The Blood Debt, Books of the Cataclysm: Two by Sean Williams. This one has the stupendous cover of hang gliders and dirigibles flying over a city on the edge of a huge canyon. By Greg Bridges, I've been eagerly awaiting seeing it on a hardcover since I read the original Australian mass market. So now I have a tie for favorite Pyr cover of all time. (The careful reader of this blog may note that every cover is my favorite cover. But today, it is genuinely, sincerely these two.)
Update: John Picacio wrote to let me know that I -and Diana Gill - were both using an earlier version of his Canticle cover. I've replaced it with the correct, final version. Meanwhile in the comments section of this post, William Lexner lets us know of an interesting discussion between folks holding diametrically opposed opinions of what makes for good cover art over on this George R.R. Martin forum. Since I've never read Martin (a glaring hole in my fantasy education, I know), it feels disenginuous to join just to post in my own self-interest, but I'd be very curious to see how those in the debate felt the Pyr covers ranked in their estimation, since I think we shoot for a healthy middle ground between genre elements and sophisticated treatments. So thanks to anyone who wants to steer them this way.
Update 2: Just posted the cover for the Spanish edition of Mike Resnick's New Dreams for Old over on the Pyr blog. We didn't have anything to do with this license. I just think it's fun to see how the Spanish edition artist has obviously springboarded off our Martiniere cover.
Update 3: Jose Garcia has just posted his interview with artist Brian W. Dow over on Meme Therapy. Along with the interview are covers to four Pyr titles: Genetopia by Keith Brooke, Hurricane Moon by Alexis Glynn Latner (forthcoming), The Prodigal Troll by Charles Coleman Finlay, and Tides by Scott Mackay. This is the debut for Hurricane Moon, which has never been seen anywhere before, and is a full wrap-around of an alien landscape, with space shuttles that Brian actually built from scratch.