This is a question which I have often considered whilst being in the process of selecting a cover for a book; should a book cover contain human models, and, if so, does this have a major impact on the perception of a book and, in turn, its sales results? While it could be argued that it is dependent upon the story, theme and other important factors, and, that some covers are evocative for containing depictions of inanimate objects such as a sword, globe etcetera, without models, I would like to forward my own example of using human models on a book cover.
My original book cover for THE GREAT HIGH SCHOOL LOVE GAME is below. While the theme of the book was somewhat exemplified by the love hearts in the image, it could be classified as being generic in tone, and, possibly as a consequence of this, sales of the book were slow.
Changing the book cover to one which contains images of the four main characters, as seen below, has made the cover, in my opinion, more representative of the story, and the love quadrangle theme which it explores. I was also fortunate to source photographs of models who greatly resembled my vision of my book’s characters, which in turn expressed my vision to readers in a clearer manner. Sales of the book have improved since the change, possibly because of the fact, without wishing to sound superficial, images of attractive people do seem to assist in helping to ‘sell’ a book to prospective readers.
While my experience, and observations are but one example, it has made me more conscious of the above, and, out of my next four books, three will feature models on the cover. This, though, will not be using models just for the sake of it – I feel that this will be best for expressing the stories’ themes to readers in the clearest manner. At this point I pose the question to you which I originally asked in this post – should book covers contain human models, or not?