A Curious Trend In Book Covers

Today’s post by yours truly | @ArielLawhon

My mother has this theory that things come in waves. Story ideas. Art. Divorce. Organic food. You name it. Things roll through a culture and sometimes being the first to catch a wave can pay off in big ways (not so much with say, the plague). She would cite our cultural obsession with Gremlins in the mid 80’s as a perfect example. I would make the same argument with a more recent phenomena: Vampires. Even Jane Austen. It’s as though everyone wakes up at the same moment and thinks, “Ah-ha! Leprechauns! I MUST WRITE ABOUT LEPRECHAUNS!”

I’ve had many a conversation with my mother on this subject. Usually because I am averse to following a trend of any sort. It’s why I’m always the last to read a popular series. What’s interesting to me at the moment is how true my mother’s theory is proving in areas other than storytelling. For a while it was all the rage for women with their heads cropped off to appear front and center on the cover of a book. A lovelier, and far more fascinating trend has taken over these days, however: the exploding rose.

Exploding Roses

The most interesting thing about this trend is the process by which these photos are taken (see this Washington Post article). The three novels pictured above couldn’t be more different in theme or content. Yet I find it fascinating that three different artists, at three different publishers thought this similar image best depicted the story within.

I should know by now that my mother is always right. Things do come always waves. Especially inspiration.

Have you noticed any other book cover trends? Do you like them? Hate them?


4 Responses to A Curious Trend In Book Covers

  1. Katie @ Doing Dewey April 2, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    No way! I was sure this was a photoshop thing. The true story is way cooler! (pun not intended, but I am guilty of choosing not to remove it :))

  2. Melissa Crytzer Fry April 2, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    This is probably testament to how much I troll book web sites, but I noticed these VERY three books and did a double take, flipping back and forth between the covers to see if the images were the same. This is such an interesting topic – one I, too, discuss with writer friends … mostly in relation to the “types” of similar books that seem to hit shelves all at once (not unlike your vampires example — or all the Zelda books last year). Jenny Wingfield, the author of THE HOMECOMING OF SAMUEL LAKE, had astute wisdom for me when I was lamenting all the books coming out about a similar topic as the one I’d written. She said, basically, not to worry and that “when this kind of creative phenomenon happens, it means ‘the world is ready for it – ready to hear THIS story.’ Her other comment, “It’s just time for the world to have it!” I guess it’s the same for the shattered rose imagery!

  3. Ariel Price April 2, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    This is a fascinating trend! (And a fascinating method for creating art.) I hadn’t noticed the trend in art – but, obviously, I notice the trends in titles. All of the “wife” titles: The Tiger’s Wife, The Time Traveler’s Wife, American Wife, Paris Wife, The Zookeeper’s Wife, The Aviator’s Wife, Silent Wife, The 19th Wife… Our Literary Wives series has been super interesting to read how different these books are, although they have similar titles. I think your mother is definitely right!

  4. Jean Mich April 29, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Thanks a lot for these info

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