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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old August 28 2009, 09:43 PM   #1
Man of Steel
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Covers

Why is the cover of Unworthy similiar to Full Circle and why does Vanguard always put the ship on it's cover? Why don't we ever see characters?

Shouldn't covers represent what the story's about? Why nothing original just the same blah cover all the time?
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Old August 28 2009, 10:32 PM   #2
William Leisner
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Re: Covers

Man of Steel wrote: View Post
Why is the cover of Unworthy similiar to Full Circle and why does Vanguard always put the ship on it's cover? Why don't we ever see characters?

Shouldn't covers represent what the story's about? Why nothing original just the same blah cover all the time?
Because the professionals responsible for the covers just aren't as smart as you are.
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Old August 28 2009, 10:37 PM   #3
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Re: Covers

Funny, I was hoping we'd get to see Deep Space 9 or the Defiant on a DS9 novel cover, rather than a character as most recent DS9 novels have.
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Old August 28 2009, 10:46 PM   #4
Therin of Andor
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Re: Covers

Man of Steel wrote: View Post
Why don't we ever see characters?

Shouldn't covers represent what the story's about?
Although the saying is, "You can't judge a book by its cover", people often do. The purpose of a book cover, from a markerting standpoint, is to catch the browser's attention. Research has shown if you can make a person stop to examine a cover more closely, then they are more likely to pick it up, turn it over and read the blurb. If they have the book in their hand long enough, you are more likely to make a sale. (There are actual time & motions studies on this.)

With ST, you're trying to appeal to any number of the wide variety of ST fans and collecors, plus non-fanatical potential fans with a mild interest in ST. There are those who like and demand photo realistic covers (ie. that's why IDW often uses stills from the shows as chase covers, and why comics sold in bookshops often have magazine style covers). There are fans who want more artistic renderings of characters and guest aliens. There are tech-minded fans who want starships or battle scenes.

So Pocket offers a range. If a style of cover helps to sell lots of a particular book, then that style may be emulated in future books. For a long time in the 80s and 90s, Pocket came under fire from some fans for so many covers with "floating heads". Changing art styles, and the possibilities opened up by Photoshop etc, make the possibilities much wider today.

Consider though: if an artist paints a cover featuring Picard, and Patrick Stewart hates the painting, it must be redone. If an artist uses Photoshop and Patrick Stewart hates the image used (unlikely 'cos it's already likely to be an approved publicity still), it can easily be switched in Photoshop; not as time-consuming or costly. If a starship or planet scene (or Calhoun's ubiquitous sword) is used, it only has to suit Pocket and CBS.

In these uncertain economic times, starship covers (sometimes even recycled from past "Ship of the Line" ST calendars) are very practical, but still appeal to a large group of book buyers.
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Old August 28 2009, 11:22 PM   #5
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Re: Covers

Indeed, never underestimate the utility of some good stock art. Back when I was commissioning the covers for the CONAN books, I made sure that I always had some "generic" CONAN paintings in inventory, just in case. Saved my butt on a couple of occasions.

And you'd be surprised how many bestselling sf/fantasy novels feature a piece of generic "space" or "dragon" art that an art director picked out of a catalog. (I used to recycle covers from foreign sf magazines--on the assumption that American readers had never seen the art before so it was "new" to them.)
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Old August 28 2009, 11:36 PM   #6
ncc71877
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Re: Covers

Man of Steel wrote: View Post
Why is the cover of Unworthy similiar to Full Circle and why does Vanguard always put the ship on it's cover? Why don't we ever see characters?
Because starships are awsome.

Man of Steel wrote: View Post
Shouldn't covers represent what the story's about? Why nothing original just the same blah cover all the time?
No.

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Old August 29 2009, 01:03 PM   #7
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Re: Covers

In the end I really don't mind what they put on the covers of the trek books....as long as there are not mistakes with respect to the story. I totally understand the need to put something presentable out there for buyers.....but I used to hate it when information on the covers contradicted story information.

It doesn't happen much anymore....infact I can't remember the last time it happened, but if you go back to the 80s there were several covers that had movie era covers but FYM stories.

Been a while though.
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Old August 29 2009, 01:26 PM   #8
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Re: Covers

Jbarney wrote: View Post
It doesn't happen much anymore....infact I can't remember the last time it happened, but if you go back to the 80s there were several covers that had movie era covers but FYM stories.
Demons had McCoy and Spock in the maroon jackets on the cover, while the story was set during the five-year mission. The Better Man went the other direction; it was a movie-era story with the maroon jackets, while the cover artwork depicted the five-year mission uniforms. (Though, to be fair, with its flashbacks, the cover wasn't that inaccurate.)

Then there's Yesterday's Son, which has Spock wearing the movie turtleneck and jacket, only it's a blue jacket instead of maroon.
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Old August 30 2009, 06:25 PM   #9
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Re: Covers

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
And you'd be surprised how many bestselling sf/fantasy novels feature a piece of generic "space" or "dragon" art that an art director picked out of a catalog.
I wouldn't be that surprised...

On that note, you may be interested this bar graph of fantasy cover elements...if you like swords and glowy magic, fantasy is the genre for you.
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Old August 30 2009, 08:12 PM   #10
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Re: Covers

I'd rather have a ship than a not-so-great Photoshopped picture of the characters.
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Old August 30 2009, 09:34 PM   #11
Greg Cox
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Re: Covers

TheAlmanac wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post
And you'd be surprised how many bestselling sf/fantasy novels feature a piece of generic "space" or "dragon" art that an art director picked out of a catalog.
I wouldn't be that surprised...

On that note, you may be interested this bar graph of fantasy cover elements...if you like swords and glowy magic, fantasy is the genre for you.

I saw that chart--and will vouch for the fact that wolves on the covers definitely seem to sell books.
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Old August 30 2009, 09:42 PM   #12
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Re: Covers

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
I saw that chart--and will vouch for the fact that wolves on the covers definitely seem to sell books.
And oversized purple gorillas on comic books sell lots of comics, after some colorist once accidentally left out the yellow layer on one.
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Old August 31 2009, 12:33 AM   #13
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Re: Covers

Are any of the characters in Vanguard ones we've seen on screen that could be put on the cover, or would models have to be used? If you can only use people that approximately look like the writers have been describing the characters, I'd rather just see the ships.
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Old August 31 2009, 12:44 AM   #14
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Re: Covers

Very few Vanguard characters have been seen in canon. Dr M'Benga is the main one, and we've also seen Clark Terrell and Carol Marcus. But M'Benga's not going to be part of the series much longer (since he's due to transfer to the Enterprise soon), and the others are fairly minor characters, also much younger than when we see them in canon.
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Old August 31 2009, 02:07 AM   #15
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Re: Covers

^ Thanks.

For instance- I don't mind the DS9PR actor Vaughn, not as crazy about Prynn... I had no idea who that was at first... and in Vanguard's case... I've liked the art that I've seen.
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