One of the aspects of cover art I find most fascinating is how one book can have multiple covers, depending on where the book is being sold. For example, here are four different covers for GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. From left to right, you have covers from the US, UK, Germany, and Italy:
Same book. Same author. Four different covers. Here is another example, with the same countries, for Sophie Kinsella’s I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER:
So what makes one cover work in one market, and not in another? Why would a book like Curtis Sittenfeld’s AMERICAN WIFE work better in the States with a bride on the cover, whereas in the UK the cover works better with a girl on a bicycle on a windswept plain? Obviously different cultures identify with different images and media, but beyond that, I don’t have a good answer. Particularly when it comes to the US and UK — two countries that, on the surface at least, seem so similar — I am consistently intrigued by how differently they approach cover art.
This is especially true with so-called chick lit, an umbrella under which my book seems to fall. In the States, most chick lit covers involve photographic renderings (a faceless girl, a cupcake, a group of beach chairs), whereas in the UK, illustrations (often cartoon-like and involving swirly lettering) predominate. I don’t universally prefer one over the other. Sometimes I think the US style works better; other times, I much prefer the UK illustration.
For comparison, here are four of my book covers, from the same countries listed above: US, UK, Germany, Italy. Which one do YOU prefer? Don’t be shy. I have my favorites, too!
(Also, I’d be curious to know your thoughts on different covers in different markets!)