Cover art is constantly a topic of discussion here—it seems like whenever a new cover draft comes in, everyone crowds around the conference table to get the first look. Judgment gets passed, fights break out. It’s a generally healthy exercise.
I have to say though, for all the times I’ve joined in on this opinion party, I’ve only ever considered these new covers in relation to the book itself. But this piece over at Orbit Books gives a different perspective by mapping out the most frequently occurring cover elements, specifically in the fantasy genre, from the past year. According to their not-so-scientific research, several newly tracked graphic elements show a strong presence in 2009, while others seem to fall off the map between 2008 and 2009. All I’ll say is this: I’m sad to see the unicorn lose the prestige it deserves, but I’m also thankful that there’s now a clear delineation between “damsels (in distress)” and “damsels (no distress).”
As I turn it over to you, I’m curious to get your opinion—why do you think certain images gain or lose popularity and therefore show up more or less frequently over the course of a given year?