Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Judging a book by its cover

I admit I do. Many, many times I have picked up a book because the cover caught my eye. The cover for a book is like the model for the swimsuit.

The thin sexy beauty gets up there and struts her stuff across the stage. Clad in the designers swimwear. Sure we like the bikini, but what sells us on going to the store and trying it on is the model.

She shows us how good it makes her look and we think, “I would look so hot in that.”  At least until we get into the dressing room. Once we get our not so modelish form squeezed into the bits of spandex will we know for sure if we really like it.

The same goes for a book cover we look at it and say ooo that’s a great cover. Caught by color or image and reach out to “try it on.”

Opening the book becomes stepping into the dressing room. We read the synopsis, the first few pages. Maybe give it the old page 99 test. Then we know if it’s a keeper or makes our butt look too big.

But it was the cover that got us that far. The best covers are simple, to the point. Eye catching colors or a stark image that says, “I’m the perfect fit.”

As a designer myself it’s very important to find the perfect image to capture the feel or meaning of the book. I want the reader to know what kind of story their looking at. At the same time I want it to grab attention and say, “Pick me, pick me!”

Not an easy task. Having a good designer is as important as having a good editor. You want a designer that will choose materials to bring your work to life.

Readers judge books by their covers, just like we do clothing on a model. The perfect cover design is just like that swimsuit. It will make you look sleek and sexy for all to oogle on the beach… er the bookshelf.

This post is part of the Fellow Writer’s Blog Hop and the A to Z challenge  Be sure to check out the other great blogs on the hop!

If you would like to see my design work please go to EV Designs.

Happy hoppingJ



mooderino said...

I agree, an attractive cover can make a book a more desirable object. The type of cover that puts me off is when they have a photograph of a model posing as a character from the book. Not sure why.

Moody Writing

Elise said...

I feel the same way! It has to be really dynamic for just people to catch my eye.

alberta ross said...

I have read so often today that people dont like seeing a photo of a model posing so tell me why do so many books have them?

it's depressing really that we rely on the cover so much - bring back the original penguin covers - colour coded for genre - so easy - so economical!

Michelle Gregory said...

i have to say i'm a cover snob. the story may be great, but if the cover looks slapped on, i'm not going to read.

Eden Baylee said...

Good post. As an indie writer, the 2 things I would spend money on are the book cover and editing.
Right or wrong, they speak volumes about the content of the book if they are not done well.

Anonymous said...

Elise, comparing deciding on a book to trying on a swimsuit was brilliant. I've seen some great covers on books that didn't live up to them. Still, the cover is the first thing about the book we see.
The only time I don't use the cover to decide is when a friend has told me what a great book it is.

MM the Queen of English

Shay Fabbro said...

Totally agree with this! I had my cover artist go back and forth so many times to get the cover exactly what I had always pictured in my mind. It is still amazing to me how he made the vision in my head come to life! We writers couldn't do it without you amazing artists :)

Jason Beymer said...

Nice post! Yeah, I'm a sucker for a pretty dust jacket.

Douglas Brown said...

I agree as well. I think a good cover does more than simply grab your attention though. A poor cover might indicate a poor book. I realize that authors dont always have a say in how there covers look but it can be a sign of quality.

Michelle Teacress said...

I judge them by their covers all the time, and when I see a book in the library that I know is good, but it has a lame, blank cover, I wish and wish they'd get a better cover so more kids would give it a try. :)

Shannon Lawrence said...

So true. The cover is what pulls me. The story then needs to keep me there and bring me back for the next one. I've spoken to authors who absolutely hated the covers of their books, and it creates a lot of bitterness. After all, writers are readers, too, and we know what we look for.

Good luck with the A to Z Challenge!

Rose Wade said...

Great post, Sis! As readers, the cover of the book is what influences our decision. So as writers, we know how important the cover design is. I've turned down several books that for some reason, instead on a synopsis, there's only a touched up photo of the author. Pass.

India Drummond said...

I do love a really wonderful cover, but even if a cover is just so-so, I will pick it up if I like the title or someone recommended the author, etc.

But if a cover looks too obviously self-published, I really hesitate. It's weird, because as a writer I know that being a good judge of a cover is not related to being a good writer, but it's just an attention to detail thing that stands out to me.

Katie said...

I can honestly say that I have never picked up a book whose cover didn't catch my eye. Great post on the subject!

Simply said...

I think just about every book I've ever read was chosen based on its cover. Over half my antique book collection was purchased based on the cover art as well. You just can't pass up a good cover!

Jeffrey Beesler said...

For a moment I thought I'd already commented on this post. Then I realized I commented on another post that covered this exact same topic. It took me 446 blogs to find two bloggers who had taken on the same material which then confused me. It's not your fault. I was just starting to wonder if it would ever happen.

Thanks for a great post nonetheless, and it's a pleasure to meet you from the A-Z Challenge!