Monday, February 15, 2010

Judging a Book by its Cover

Are you guilty? I am.


When browsing for a new book to read I first have to check out the covers. If it draws my attention then I’ll check out the blurb. Now that I’m a writer I begin to understand how at the mercy of the artist we are. We can make suggestions but no one has to listen to us. In my short experience, in this business, my hottest cover is my best seller even though, in my opinion, it’s my least skilled story. LOL

Another example is R.A. Salvatore’s Drizzt books. I’d seen them on the shelves for years. Book after book, they listed quite a series, must be a good story then. Did I buy one? No. I hated the covers.


Then the publisher must have heard my opinion of them and got another artist to remake the covers. Much more attractive elf with better action scenes, I bought one. Then I bought the whole series. There’s power in pictures.

What have been your experiences?

14 comments:

Rebecca Royce said...

The cover makes a huge difference. I've only been in love with my covers (Thank you Buffi and Anne) but I know authors who have been in agony about their covers.

J Hali said...

I'm a huge believer that the cover sells the book! After all, who picks up a book with a cover that doesn't please them? If buyers are turned off by the cover, they'll never get to the blurb!!

I love your covers, Annie.

Sandra Sookoo said...

I never buy a book from it's cover (I actually looked at the Salvatore books yesterday. Bought others instead)

I'll be the first to admit I've had bad covers. I've also had hot covers and the books don't sell. So it can really go either way.

Honestly, I think people do judge by the cover because it doesn't matter how good a writer's work it, it won't get bought because of the cover, and that's a real shame.

mymargee said...

I have to admit I am guilty of using covers when I am impulse buying. But I hate it when they change the cover of older books. You go "Oh goodie, (insert author's name) has a new release. Hawt Dayum" Then get it home, start flipping through it and go. "WAIT! SON OF A B*TCH! I already have it" and sail the book half way down the hall and whimper that I missed a chance to own a brand NEW book. LOL


Margie

Dakota Trace said...

I'll have to agree with mymargee. I've done the same thing so many times, I've begun to read the first couple of pages in the story to make sure it's not funny.

Annie Nicholas said...

I have to wonder how the future generation will browse for books. Whenever I wanted to find a new author to read I would go to the book store and look through the selves. Can you do that on the internet?
Some stores are set-up for it like ARe but my head spins when I go to Amazon or Fictionwise.

Cynnara Tregarth said...

For me, I'm a blurb woman. If the blurb interests me, I'll consider getting the book. But since I also read ebooks- sometimes the covers are next to the blurbs and it's hard to avoid a bad cover while trying to judge the story concept on its own merit. Sometimes bad cover art, especially by artists who don't take the time to do the postwork, hurt sales more than a badly written story.

I admit, I'm with Dakota and mymargee as well when it comes to impulse buying for print books and ebooks- covers and titles are the big things that will seduce me to look further if I might want to buy that book. It might not be right, but that's why it's important for the artist to be on the same page with the author. If they're not- it just doesn't work-- I should know, I'm also an author.

P.A.Brown said...

If I don't know an author, or haven't heard of them from friends, then since the cover is the first thing I see I have to judge it from that. If it looks good, I will then check out the blurb and maybe flip through a few pages or read a prolog if it's short enough.

Not fair, given the authors have limited input on them, but when you're faced with racks of books, what else can you use? Titles also will make me pick up a spine out book, so that has to be strong and relate to the genre.

Sandra Sookoo said...

I love Fictionwise. I'll browse books by publisher first then if an author interests me, I'll browse by author :-)

Danielle D. Smith said...

Maybe it's just because I'm an artist as well as an author, but I think the cover can make a huge difference. Bad art/design can be very off-putting and send the wrong message to the consumer. Women readers especially are attracted to beautiful images and pleasing colors, which makes cover art SO important. I'm the type who will scan bookstore shelves (or amazon.com pages) and click on or pull a particular book only for the image I see on the cover. I'm so happy that LSB let me do my own cover art... this allowed me to communicate what I wanted to, right off the bat. :) There is a LOT of bad cover art out there...the last thing I'd want is a cover that says "CHEESY"--that might lead the reader to think that the story is, too.

Author GE Stills said...

I'm sad to say that I am guilty of judging books by their covers. I'm sure that I miss a lot of good stories because of it.
Great post Annie

Sandy said...

Interesting post, Annie. I look at the blurb on the back cover and look inside. The cover doesn't influence me.

victoria roder said...

I'm drawn to a cover, but then I have to be interested in the back blurb.

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

I'm with Sandy. A blurb is what catches me first. I'll then take a look at the cover fr an 'added' feel.