I’m a visual girl. When I’m browsing bookshops (or on line), there’s always something that draws me to a book cover. Maybe it’s smart imagery, a compelling landscape or something that implies mystery about a character.

When I was researching the all important aspect of book cover art for Haven River, I thought about what covers I liked.

I set up a Pinterest board so I could see trends and compare the different styles.

I then found the following websites that had done an analysis of Young Adult book covers:

2015 Young Adult book cover trends part 1

Young Adult book cover trends

Trends in YA book cover photos

What has been trending is summarised below:

  • birds
  • legs
  • Post It notes
  • the ‘Instagram’ look
  • devils
  • thorns and vines
  • lit up place signs
  • fingerprints
  • cityscapes
  • boats
  • floating heads (!)
  • specific body parts – back, legs, eyes
  • human silhouette
  • limited colour
  • lens fade or spotlight treatment
  • large title or large author name.

Style seems to be divided between an actual photo versus a stylised or illustrated cover.


The illustrated cover has been made popular by The Fault in Our Stars.

Aimed with this research for a cover, I (well, actually my graphic designer) came up with all kinds of ideas.

Haven River cover analysis

In the end, how many trends got incorporated into Haven River? One. Large author name. I wince at this. I used to feel an author whose name took up heaps of space on a book was on an ego trip. I’d hate people to make that assumption about me (don’t judge an author by their book cover?).

Large author name

But I’m exceptionally proud of the Haven River book cover. The couple on the front are Luke and Jamie to a T. I love the photo shot in the background that is ‘Haven River’.

When I place my book cover against those I researched , is it ‘up’ there with the rest of them? I hope so. Did I incorporate any trends? Not particularly, but I still love it and comments I’ve had back from others say it’s ‘refreshing’.

There will always be book covers that we’re somehow drawn to. Different editions of books have had different covers eg I’ll Be There. There would be some books I’d have walked straight past because they just didn’t grab me, but when they were printed again with a different image I would pick the book up and read the back. The blurb sounded familiar. More research later. Yes, I’d picked this book up before, but it had a different cover. Obviously one that had little appeal to me.

Book cover art is critical to its sale

The cover has to be right particularly when you’re spent hours and hours and tears and laughter writing your book. No one wants to have their book bypassed because the cover didn’t click with them.


Next week I have a special guest blogger who gives us her opinion on book covers that have stood out for her.

What are your favourite Young Adult book covers, and why? Are there particular covers you like more than others?