Sorry about missing last week blog-wise. My mom was in town and we were doing fun stuff together. I like my mom. She is good.

I’m really excited about this Coverflip project Maureen Johnson got started the other day. (If you follow me on Twitter, I’ve been posting a lot of cover-related stuff there.) The conversation began by positing that books written by women were given more girly covers. The basic idea is that the girly covers of certain books attract one kind of reader to the exclusion of others, i.e. attract female readers and drive away the boys, regardless of the subject-matter or content of the books.

I agree with this premise. I did a presentation at a school visit a few months ago talking about this basic idea and got the response I expected: None of the boys in the class said they would pick up books with shiny purple filigree, or a picture of a girl in a prom dress with flowing hair, or of parts of a girl’s body, even when I told them that the covers packaged great stories of interest to all genders.

However, there are a number of female writers whose books have gotten wonderfully gender-neutral covers. For example, me. 🙂 I think my covers for both No Safety and Dogs are fantastically pan-gender. A girl or guy or anyone in between can feel comfortable carrying around my shiny biohazard symbol or Shep’s lovable mug.

I would also point to the original Hunger Games cover, and Code Name Verity, and the Divergent series. All of these have gender-neutral covers in my opinion. What do you think?

(Mind you, authors have little to no control over the covers their books get. In many ways, this is a good thing—my skill set is in the writing of books, not in their marketing or design.)

But still, the coverflip project presents lots of interesting food for thought. Though it seems shallow to admit it (certainly for an author:), covers matter. I’ve had readers tell me they picked up my book because of its cover alone. Guys, all other things aside, would you pick up Game of Thrones with this cover? Or If I Fall? What about A Clockwork Orange? Girls (I’m having trouble finding an appropriate appellation; talking about gender is hard:), have you ever not picked up a book because its cover felt too boyish?

 

 

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