Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Trends in YA Book Covers

All around awesome writer and blogger Kate Hart did a comprehensive analysis here of 2011 YA book covers. I can't even imagine the time it took her to compile all this info. She told me she doesn't watch television at all, but this was still an enormous task to take on. Her study yielded results from the interesting (blue is the most common color of traditionally published YA books) to the sad (the downright dismal amount of ethnic diversity in cover models).

Kate followed this up with another post that clarified some reader questions, and addressed what writers can do to help--especially writers who are white (like me). It's very thought-provoking and has me thinking about my own responsibility as an author. Though I have characters in my books who are ethnically and sexually diverse (LGBT), I'm not sure how much control I'd have over the covers. Per Kate's post, even mega-author John Green admitted not loving several of his book covers. I'm not sure what the answer is but Kate poses some great questions that we, as writers, need to keep asking.

Have you read these posts? What are your thoughts on these issues? Anyone else happy to see the decrease in dead girl covers?


  1. This is one reason why my main protagonist is racially ambiguous--and male.


    To be honest, I feel a little hesitant about using models on covers. For some reason, it feels like a good way to date it, considering that The Big Three of YA (Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games) don't use models.

    The covers for the Harry Potter books seem magical. A cover with a model up-and-front? Not really.

    Not that too many YA books have models on their cover, but I think it might fix the racial screw if cover artists try a different approach.

    1. That's a good point. I think that would be harder though with contemporary novels, as they tend to use models more. My MC is racially ambiguous too, but I don't think she'd end up that way on a cover.