Cover Talk, SF/F Romances pt.1

A few months ago when my short story was accepted by Whispers they sent this long, incredibly complicated form about my cover preferences. And the whole thing got me thinking about my cover preferences.

Then today I read this excellent article at Galaxy Express all about SF Romance covers. So I thought “Hey, that would make a good blog for me!” Today then, children, I will discuss what I think makes a good cover. Complete with lots of pretty pictures! 🙂

I actually have a lot of thoughts about covers so I’m going to do a series of posts about this, spread out over a few days? S’allright? S’allright.

Now, what do I think makes a good cover for a SF/F Romance? Well, let’s look at some examples.

The Sharing Knife Book 3: Passage by Lois McMaster Bujold
I actually loved all the covers for the Sharing Knife books, but this one, I think, did the best at getting across that these were romance books. I love the detail on this, down to even getting Fawn’s bracelet right. Dag’s looks a little too young, but I don’t care. This cover is just fantastic. I would hang this on my wall, and I would KILL (Kill, I tell you!) to have a cover like this for one of my books. I think it’s a compelling image and it gets across the tone of the book. Where it could have been improved would be to give some hint of the fantasy elements, as the first two book covers did, but other than that I think this is a great image and a gorgeous cover.

Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
I think, generally speaking, that for Science Fiction and Fantasy, I prefer covers that have been drawn and painted instead of photo-shopped together. I think it is so much better for getting across the characters, the world-building and such. And you end up with such beautiful images when you do that. Such as this cover here. Again, they got the character’s appearance exactly right, her toughness, her attitude, even her hair. Love it. I also appreciate that they managed to capture the grittiness of the world, and the other-worldliness that is Grimspace. They even get a hint of the SF elements with the machinery she’s sitting one. Subtle and very well done.

Beyond the Shadows by Jess Granger
And here we have my exception to the “Paintings are better” Rule because this cover WORKS for me. And it’s not just because of the pretty man, although he does help. See, I like the city in the background, and I like his gauntlets and the knife almost half-hidden by his folded arms. I think this gets across tone and character really well, while also giving a sense of the world-building, and it makes me want to pick up the book a LOT.

So, what are you favorite Science Fiction or Fantasy covers? And why?


For tomorrow: Young Adult Covers

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