Thursday, 29 September 2011

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words?

I posted the following cover artwork on Twitter and asked people what genre they believed it belonged to:

The general consensus was 'crime' or 'thriller' and I confess that this was my first thought on seeing the cover.

I have, however, read this novel in an embryonic stage (submitted to Angry Robot Open Door Month, before being signed by Jo Fletcher Books - it's excellent!) and I would say it is distinctly horror.

Now, cover artwork is often a little bit of a minefield, in terms of getting it right - and here it seems as though Jo Fletcher Books have chosen to go with artwork that plays down the horror angle. Is this because horror really doesn't sell?

Or, on the other hand, are they trying to tap into some crossover appeal and beckon in the crime/thriller readers? In this case, they are going head to head with some real heavyweights and so A Cold Season might find itself disregarded.

I did find it very interesting to see people identify a whole genre by a piece of cover art i.e. crime. I worry, though, that the wrong readers will therefore pick up this novel. Honestly? I think that Alison Littlewood has been done a disservice with this generic cover and I would hope that people look beyond that to the novel inside.


  1. I don't think it's half so bad, actually. What with the woods and the snow and the ethereal light the dude's running into, it looks like a spooky book to me, with, sure, a hint of the thriller to it, rather than flat out horror. Is that what this is, then?

  2. It's pretty generic crime/thriller yes, and doesn't do a lot for me to be honest. Not sure whether I'd check out the blurb unless it was in the horror section and I was interested to see if it should be!

    Given some of the torture porn that passes as crime fiction these days however, tapping into that readership for a horror author isn't a bad idea! The core readers are unlikely to be put off by a high level of horror.