The arrival of the new book cover art for book 1 illustrates a helpful point for anyone writing a series of anything targeting male audiences.
I’ll admit it now.
Men like to collect.
At least, I have never met a man who didnt enjoy collecting something. Im sure many women are the same as well, but they tend to be better at hiding it.
Why is this important? Because when you’re writing a series, I believe its important to link this with the natural inclination to collect sets of things. Especially if these sets of things includes a set of factions or teams. Case in point, the previous artwork for Herald’s Call showed a damaged flag and the amulet, but not much else. It did a nice job of linking the art on the cover to the content of the book, but didn’t really leave any lasting impression. Herald’s Dawn, on the other hand, has a striking and memorable symbol. It still links the art to the book (the symbol is Lenateth’s emblem, the country in which most of the book is set), but it also allows the art to be linked to the series as a whole. How so? Well, the Fable of Griffon is estimated to be nine books in total. There are approximately 8 major factions throughout, each of which has an emblem of its own. By having the artwork for each book as one of these emblems, it does several things;
* It links the cover to the content
* It links the covers of the books together as a set of emblems, rather than just images
* It establishes some of the character of each faction, and helps appeal to that ‘tribal’ mentality that many collectors (men and women) have.
For other examples, look no further than Game of Thrones or Harry Potter. How many fans of the books (even casually) would recognise a house symbol like Griffindor, or the Kraken of House Greyjoy? My guess would be quite a few, and this extends to many things in nerdy culture such as Games workshop (symbols of the Chaos gods or space marine legions), star wars (which give how rare the appearance of the Empire/Rebel symbols are is quite surprising), and so on. Even outside of geek culture, symbols to denote teams in sports are just as common, even branding in clothing and other high street items (apple or Mcdonalds jump to mind for instance).
Though it matters less if your work is contained in one book, if you are aiming for a series I think it’s really important to set a clear image and to have these ‘collectible symbols’ that denote your work. It may be extreme optimism on my part to hope that these faction symbols will ever be recognised in the same way something like the Klingon empire’s symbol is, but just by having them I know that anyone who does read the books can have a clearer idea of the factions involved, the banners they rally under, and be reminded of them when they glimpse the symbol anywhere in the world. If you are writing a series, that has to be worth doing.
Now that Tyran’s Raven and Lenateth’s Render are done, book three will be Nallaimor’s Black Lion. Cant wait to see the finished result!