Protagonist Posing on the Cover

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TulipMama

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Hi all,

I've written an Urban Fantasy Police Procedural, and am in the midst of critique/edit/beta shenanigans. I read a fair amount of urban fantasy, it's really my go-to for entertainment since I love the juxtaposition of magic in an modern setting.

I've noticed a trend though in the book covers. Almost all of them have the main protagonist centrally featured, brooding like it's a sport, and doing something vaguely magical. Dresden Files, October Daye series, Tales from the Hollows, Annette Marie's 3 Mages and a Margarita series all follow this trend. Heck, if you google 'Urban Fantasy book covers' you get exactly this kind of thing almost exclusively.

I don't want to do this, myself, and I'm a little worried that my book may get passed over because it doesn't 'look' Urban Fantasy enough at first glance.

I'm more inclined to feature the victim in my novel over my MC on the cover, or something more akin to the Rivers of London series. Should I be concerned? Should I even be thinking about this now? I'm looking for any advice you can give me.

Thanks in advance,

Tulip Mama <3
 

The Second Moon

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My sister (AW's starrystorm) wrote and self-published a YA futuristic urban fantasy that didn't feature the protag on the cover. It features city lights, a neon hand outline, and a door in the hand's palm. It is very well done and she gets compliments on it.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that you don't need the protag posing on the cover. I personally think it is way too overdone. I remember when my sister was trying to figure out what would go on her cover She looked up "YA Urban Fantasy Covers" and ran into the same results as you: all the covers featured a posing protag. She didn't go with the "trend" and everything worked out fine.

I hope this helps. :)
 

frimble3

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I think what your cover needs is something that indicates 'urban' and something that shows 'fantasy'. One of those views down a long, built-up city street with strange lights or figures, or whatever your story is about. Or a strange creature, reaching out from behind a construction wall.
Or a building front, with strange shop-names.
Something that indicates what your story is about.
 

starrystorm

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I've been summoned!

I felt the same way when I was looking at Urban Fantasy covers. I already had a strong idea from the beginning of what I wanted on my cover (my profile picture). I also had sort of a unique character with purple hair, so that made it harder.

To me, the trend of having people on the cover looking "sporty" to me didn't scream "urban fantasy." I want something that did: neon and city lights. At the time I also read an article that neon was going to be super popular as a cover choice in the near YA future, but I've yet to see that happen.

In the end it is up to you. Ask people what they think it looks like. Take the most urban and the most fantasy parts of your story and put them out front.
 

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