Monday, November 23, 2009

Book Covers

“Don't judge a book by its cover” - American Proverb

I have a friend who just received a cover for her book and she's not pleased with the outcome. We've been having a dialogue about it and it really got me to thinking: how much does a cover impact sales?

I know for some readers, it can make or break a story. I'll use my DD (yes, I know she's not a romance reader -- yet -- but she's an avid reader). Some time ago, she received both "Penderwicks" books as a gift. She thanked the person, and then they landed on her shelf... forgotten. Here are the covers:

Finally, months and months later, we were cleaning her room. She's not allowed to pile books willy-nilly on her bookshelf, so we had to make room by getting rid of books she doesn't read. I suggested the Penderwicks books. "You've never even opened them." She said, "The covers are boring." I replied, "If you're not going to read them, let's get rid of them." She panicked. "I'll read them right now."

And she did. Finally. And LOVED them, rereading them regularly. But if I hadn't shoved her into a corner, she wouldn't have opened them EVER. Because of the covers. She hadn't even looked to see what they were about.

Now what about me? If it's an author I love, the cover won't matter (except that I'll either love it or make fun of it -- either way, I'll buy and read the book).

BUT ...

I'm a rather visual person, and a cover can make or break a sale for me for a new author. A good cover can make me at least pick up a book and look at it (or, it's an eBook, click through and read the blurb). I still may not buy it, but I may do more research. I see somewhere in the neighborhood of 3500 covers a year via LASR/WC because I touch every review we post. I also have hundreds more books and stories that I see on my own. There are some really great covers out there and I'm intrigued by many of them, enough to look into them further. Some make me downright embarrassed for the author though. We have one review done on a book with a man, a woman and a dog ... and it's the most poorly Photoshopped cover I think I've ever seen. It looks like a five y.o. went through a magazine and cut out pictures using safety scissors and then pasted them onto a random background. The book may be fantastic, but I honestly can't get past the cover, and will probably never buy it because of that.

There are some amazing covers out there, ones that would entice me to buy a book. Like this:

I think this is the best cover Allie got for any of her books. IMHO, it's amazing (so is the book, BTW).

Take a look at two different covers for one of my stories. The Wild Rose Press updated their older covers to make them more clearly NOT their free reads and what a difference it made.

Here is my old cover for "Magic":

And here is the updated one:

Which would you be more likely to at least give a second glance to?

And now... YOU weigh in. Does a cover make a difference to you?


You Are Humor

You love to laugh at life, and if possible, get others to laugh along with you.

You believe there's always a humorous side to everything. And your sense of humor ranges from upbeat to very dark.

You are outrageous and very honest. You're often the only one willing to say what everyone else is thinking.

You are witty and verbally talented. You like to play with words and say things in interesting ways.



Diane Craver said...

I think covers are very important and as an author, are crucial to me. My books are my babies so if there is something I don't like when I see new covers for my books, I will tell the cover art designer. I love my covers for my Samhain books, A Fiery Secret and No Greater Loss. When I didn't like a few things about each cover, I was happy that the artist listened to me and made the changes. I had a lot of input about my Whitney in Charge cover, too.

I don't like covers with the body images minus the heads.

I LOVE Allie's cover, too. And I enjoyed the book a lot. I have always liked your cover for KITCHEN MATCHES, Marianne! It's a great one.

Took the quiz:
You Are Mystery
You are a natural problem solver. You like figuring out the best way to do something.
You are very intuitive. You are good at picking up on people's moods and predicting the future.

You can't help but being a bit of a detective and a snoop. You always want to know what's going on.
And while you may have the scoop on everyone you know, you're not a gossip. You're a pro at keeping secrets.

Dru said...

I'm definitely a visual person and book covers will determine if I give a book a second look, especially for new-to-me authors.

I would definitely pick up your updated cover - it's pleasing to the eye.

You Are Fantasy / Sci Fi
You have an amazing imagination, and in your mind, all things are possible.

You are open minded, and you find the future exciting. You crave novelty and progress.

Compared to most people, you are quirky and even a bit eccentric. You have some wacky ideas.

And while you may be a bit off the wall, there's no denying how insightful and creative you are.

Have a great Monday.

J.A. Saare said...

Covers do snag my attention and entice me to read, without a doubt. Sadly, I have a couple of covers I dislike for my own stories. I was aware it was bound to happen as the cover artists have their own concept based on the blurb or excerpt.

Maria Zannini said...

Just goes to prove that artists are necessary. *g*

A good cover is crucial. Back when the cover for Touch Of Fire was created, I got the chance to discuss changes with the artist. (I don't know that Samhain lets you do that anymore.)

I was an art director in my old life, and I knew what I wanted to see. The artist was very willing to discuss ideas with me.

It's not the exact cover I would have designed, but the guy was perfect and the heroine, while a little more vampy than necessary probably gave it that edgy feeling.

I love my cover. It stops everyone in their tracks--which is what I wanted it to do.

Keri Mikulski said...

Like the updated one. :)

I'm ALL about the cover!! :)

Tori Lennox said...

I'm with you, if it's an author I'd read regardless, the cover won't make that much difference, though I might wonder what the publisher was thinking if the cover is hideous. But bad covers really can be off-putting.

You Are Fantasy / Sci Fi
You have an amazing imagination, and in your mind, all things are possible.
You are open minded, and you find the future exciting. You crave novelty and progress.

Compared to most people, you are quirky and even a bit eccentric. You have some wacky ideas.
And while you may be a bit off the wall, there's no denying how insightful and creative you are.

Quirky, eccentric and wacky. That's me, all right! LOL!

Brandy said...

If the author is someone I buy already then the cover may give me pause, but I'll still buy it. After all, the cover may attract me to a book, but the blurb on the back is usually what makes me buy a book.
I like the updated cover to your book.

re Quiz: You are Realistic Fiction
You are an outgoing person and very interested in others. You have many relationships that are important to you.
You are always willing to lend an ear to a friend with a problem. And you're even pretty good at giving advice!
Some may accuse you of loving drama, but you just seem to find yourself in the middle of it.
You are a true people person. You find the lives of others to be fascinating. You're up for hearing anyone's life story.

Um, no. I don't seek out drama, don't like it at all. On the other hand I take my friendships seriously and try to be there to lend an ear. So not all wrong. *G*

I hope you're having a pleasing Monday!

Jennifer Shirk said...

I never THOUGHT I was much of cover person but I've noticed that I have been looking at covers more and as a result reading the back of the book if it's a good one.

Nice new cover! TWRP has come a long way with their covers. :)

Ceri Hebert said...

Covers definitely matter. I don't understand why a publisher wouldn't want to make a cover as visually pleasing as possible. Maybe beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I don't understand why some cover artists don't put more care into their work. It represents them and the publisher.

Anonymous said...

Like you with authors I know cover doesn't play as big a role, but it can if it puts me off the story.

Now new to me authors I'll be more likely to pick it up if there is something interesting to snag my attention. Your second cover is def way better!