Friday, December 11, 2015

Cover Change: The Winner's Curse

Here we go again...

So earlier today, the news dropped that The Winner's Curse is getting a cover change. I'm not generally opposed to cover changes as a concept except where they:

1) Happen in the middle of a series, therefore ensuring that my books will NEVER MATCH

2) Take a pretty cover and make it less so.

The change to The Winners Curse did not just one, but both. Let's examine:

Original: The best of the girls in dresses covers I've seen. There was a bit of a change in the typography between the first book and the following ones, but the theme is clearly consistent. (Curse is my favourite typography-wise.)

These are covers that make Kestrel looks strong, without making her look like she's planning on going out and physically fighting someone, and they make her look calculating. It accentuates that there is both combat (the weaponry) and court/ political drama (the dresses, Kestrel's overall appearance).
New: The original is just so much better than what they've done now. The new covers are honestly kind of silly looking? They look like a bunch of stock photos arbitrarily forced together. Why is the sky pink in the first one? They make these books look like something that they just aren't. These are stock YA high fantasy covers that you slap on a high fantasy with an assassin or something as the heroine, and magic figuring in. Which can be totally great, but that isn't The Winner's Curse.

These are not covers for a book like 
The Winner's Curse. Suddenly they have these stupid by-line things? You can's even really see the "The" on The Winner's Kiss. The worst part? They make Kestrel into someone she isn't, attempting to replace her brand of mental combat with some sort of stock variety "girl who fights things with knives." Also, Winner's Kiss cover? That is not how people look after they've been enslaved in a mine, nor even how they look after fighting their way out, if that's what you're going for.
To me, the new covers seem like a transparent attempt to appeal to a different audience. What I don't understand is why you would try to make this fantastic trilogy look like something it isn't. It seems like its more likely to disappoint readers who are drawn in by the cover, expecting a certain kind of story with a certain kind of lead. I love Kestrel, but she is primarily cerebral, and is less gifted with weapons. Her thing is cleverness and manipulation, not stabbing. This also ins't a world with magic in it, so I'm not sure about the random glow-y bits showing up randomly. So I'm a bit weirded out from a branding standpoint. If anyone in marketing understands why this happened, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Will I still buy and read the books? Yes. I'm not going to punish the author and myself to make a point that the publisher isn't going to get anyway. Am I unimpressed and a little confused? Definitely.

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