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Using Midjourney AI for Book Cover Research

There’s a battle going on right now, between the pro-AI futurists and the anti-AI rights creators. Both sides got some excellent points that you can find online. I’m not going to comment on that.

I will say that I’ve been using the Midjourney Art AI and while it took quite some getting used to (and the results, as yet, can’t compare to a true illustrator – for one, a human illustrator can count the number of fingers on a hand,) there are some things that AI is really, really good at.

Like scraping lots of images and extracting the similarities from them. Which is exactly what we do when we’re doing cover research. Take a look at this:

AI-generated Western covers. It may not be the greatest covers in the world, but they’re definitely western covers. That’s the prompt I used “book cover, western”.

If I was writing western, assuming I knew nothing about the genre or the covers, I’d instantly know a few things:

  • The color scheme – earth tones, umbers, warm yellow highlights.
  • The fonts choices: bold serifs, all caps.
  • The front imagery: lone man, stetson, looking off into the distance.
  • The background: desert, barren, nature.

AI-generated romance covers.I did the same thing for romance (“book cover, romance”):

The color scheme is completely different, as is the imagery, both front and background. But there’s a problem – where western was unified, these romance covers are… well… different from each other.

That’s a good thing.

What Midjourney picks up on here is multiple sub-genres. It blends the sub-genres, creating covers that would sort-of fit in any given sub-genre, but might be wrong for them as well.

So I pulled a few genres at random: billionaire, cowboy, historical. This is what Midjourney gave me:

AI-generated historical romance covers.

AI-generated billionaire romance covers.

AI-generated western covers.

Omitting the diffusion errors, and the very weird eyes in the first image, can you tell which sub-genre is which?

Now, this is the same thing done for Science Fiction in general (“book cover, science fiction”) and for a few sub-genres (action adventure, military)

AI-generated military SF covers.

AI-generated science fiction covers.

AI-generated action adventure SF covers.

And just because, here’s the same for Fantasy:

AI-generated fantasy covers.

Playing around with other factors, like adding the year, and generating more overview images, gives one enough of a background to know what to look for when you do your own cover research on the major booksellers. Once you get used to the conventions, you’ll see when someone breaks them, and, if they sell well, you’ll know what to ask your illustrator/cover designer for.

Midjourney won’t do all the work for you, but using AI for basic research works, like a lot of paralegals have found out.

Luck and Persistence!

Dreams of Futures Past Book Cover

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