But it was the cover that made me interested in reading it. Fortunately, I was able to, and I did. The other was a book on the French and Indian War, also known as the Seven Years War. I don't know if it was a novel, like say, The Last of the Mohicans, or what. Actually, it might just have been The Last of the Mohicans, but I was only eight, and I don't remember. I don't remember because I didn't end up reading it. I think I at least started to read it, but like I said, it was too advanced for me. But it was the cover that fascinated me.
To this day, I can remember that cover. It was a painting of a battle scene, and it featured two warriors, one being a Frenchman? not sure, because he wasn't dressed in a military uniform. It was more like he was dressed like a frontiersman, and the other was an Indian, maybe one of those Mohawk kind of Indians, and they were attacking each other, each one holding some kind of a weapon--the Frenchman holding a knife, and the Indian wielding a tomahawk.
But it was a great painting, I thought at the time, and it was sure something that drew the interest of an eight-year-old boy.
These days, you don't see covers like that. I still have the book that my brother bought because of the cover. And why wouldn't I? It was a Frank Frazetta painted cover, and the book was called Conan the Adventurer. To this day, I consider that cover one of the best covers ever made. And, interestingly, it wasn't an action scene. It was simply a painting of Conan standing atop a hill, apparently in the aftermath of a battle, and he seems to be the only survivor of that battle. There's a naked girl at his feet, but other than her, there is no one else around. Other than dead bodies strewn about, I mean.
But the essence of the character of Conan in that painting was nailed! More so than any actor ever could do in the movies made of Conan, or the TV shows. And no other artist has been able to depict the essential character of Conan, even though several have tried, including yours truly. No. Frank Frazetta was the king. And only Frazetta could paint the real Conan. Period.
But my question is do covers sell? These days, most covers seem to be a computerized pasting of photos or images that don't really look real at all. What makes me shake my head is how almost every single romance novel has a naked man on the cover. Or a shirtless, bare-chested man. Okay, so these books are for women, but is that what sells? Are women convinced a book is worth buying or reading because it has a shirtless or bare-chested man on the cover? Apparently so. I mean, by comparison, you rarely see a shirtless woman on any book cover. If you did, maybe that would convince men to buy the book, but somehow I don't think so. At least, it wouldn't for me.
For example, it wasn't the naked woman at Conan's feet that prompted my brother to buy that Conan book. And it wasn't the naked woman that intrigued me, even though I was only eight. And not now, either, as an adult man. It was that magnificent depiction of the barbarian warrior, who wasn't even fighting. He's just standing there. That's what a great cover can do. It intrigues you. And then, yeah, it will prompt sales. (Ironically, Conan is shirtless on that cover, but before anyone points fingers, Conan was almost always shirtless, because he was a barbarian from Cimmeria, and barbarians from Cimmeria, didn't usually wear shirts, okay?)
|Frazetta's Conan the Adventurer|
|Frazetta's painting retouched|
What about the cover to my book, Killer of Killers? It could have had a shirtless Trent Smith on the cover. And that would possibly have drawn a lot of interest in the female readership, based on what I've been seeing out there in book covers, as I've explained. After all, Killer of Killers does have romance in it. It does have love and angst. But that's not the essence of the story. It's a story of vengeance. It's an action story, an adventure, a characterization of modern society and the ills of corruption, and what one man can do to overcome all of that. It has philosophy, too, and what happens when the principles that have been the basis for your art are not adhered to. It's all of that ... and more.
|Cover to Killer of Killers|