Rosanne Dingli

Rosanne Dingli

Friday, January 4, 2013

Book covers and their meanings

Malta - Magnificent cliffs
Malta - Magnificent cliffs (Photo credit: maltahotel)
Humans seek meaning in life.

This deep statement covers a lot of what people do: the meanings we seek, however, are not always deep, or hidden. Most are plain and many would admit to seeking contentment, satisfaction and happiness.

Seeking meaning in relationships, work, and leisure is not unusual or new - everyone seeks some level of significance in things done on a daily basis. Seeking meaning in leisurely pursuits is common: movies and books provide meaning in fictional situations, which people apply to their own life situations.

Book covers and movie posters are not exactly the same - but they do similar things. They try to entice viewers and readers to seek something for themselves inside. Watch this and you will have fun. Read this and you can enjoy a couple of hours of entertainment. Look in here and learn a lesson. See this and have fun.

Book covers can pack a lot of meaning into a 5 x 8 inches rectangle. Thumbnails are much smaller, and their meaning can be a millisecond burst of recognition. Or it can be a flash of mystery, a lightning slash of titllation or promise.

The new cover on my novel Death in Malta signifies the attraction of the Mediterranean, and the mystery contained in a clay jar. Readers might wonder why a clay jar is prominently displayed in the middle of a novel whose title contains the word 'death'. And that second of wonder might lead to deeper curiosity. Green and blue are well known for their ability to instill calm and attraction. Who can resist the beckoning of an aquamarine lagoon?

When designing book covers, one finds there is much more to the process than typography or layout. Meaning plays a large role, because readers and viewers invest a lot of expectation into what they are offered in the way of meaningful leisure.

Leave a comment if you find this cover meaningful, enticing or mystifying.
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  1. Your cover is all of those things, Rosanne!

    I agree with everything you've said here. Cover art was always a source of contention when I was published by Berkley. They did beautiful covers--that said nothing about the novels. It was always hands--a man's and a woman's--with some piece of jewelry. My editor told me they spent $10,000. on the cover for Dance of the Gods. I told her somebody saw them coming.

  2. Thank you Norma - a great deal of thought goes into my 'meanings'.

  3. A thought-provoking piece, Rosanne. I like your design and especially love the enchanting turquoise of the water. It does evoke mystery and therefore it will probably attract plenty of reader interest. But I must say that, having read Death in Malta some years ago in paperback, I find the original cover very evocative too. Maybe, though, its subdued colours are not the best for Amazon thumbnails.

    It's an outstanding story that deserves plenty of new readers. I hope the new design attracts them.

  4. Very attractive cover, Rosanne, with a nice air of mystery about it.

  5. Love the cover Rosanne. A sense of mystery. I would pick it up. Also loved your pic of Malta.

  6. Thank you Dale, and Helen.
    I am getting better at covers all the time.
    It's wonderful when I receive confirmation of progress.

  7. Nice blog, I found you on LinkedIn. I hope you come by my way soon!