Rick Blechta, Aline Templeton, Vicki Delany, Frankie Bailey, John Corrigan, Barbara Fradkin, Donis Casey, Charlotte Hinger, Mario Acevedo, and Sybil Johnson — always ready to Type M for MURDER.
“One of 100 Best Creative Writing Blogs.” — Colleges Online. Online since 2006!
Last week the Typists were talking about what makes us buy a
book, and the topic of cover images came up.
Some of us didn’t seem to think the cover is all that
important in the buying decision, and others consider it very important.
I am in the latter camp.
Yes, I’m going to buy a book if it’s highly recommended by someone I trust,
or if a reputable review source I also trust has given it high praise, but
otherwise, the cover is the first decision I make.
Do I pick this book up and read more, or pass on by?
That split-second decision is made almost exclusively on the
One of the best covers of all time (now extensively copied)
The cover needs to tell you exactly what type of book this
is. Cats and pastel covers? Great, if I’m
wanting something light. The US Capital
building at dark, probably in the rain? Guaranteed to be a tough-guy thriller. A lonely house, perhaps with one light burning?
Probably a psychological suspense.
Blood spatter? Not for me.
Only if the cover appeals to me, and tells me that the book
is the sort of thing I am looking for at this very moment, will I pick it
up. At that point all the other buying
decisions take over. Is the blurb enticing,
what I feel like reading, and is it well written? Then I might stop right there
and get it.
But, even if it is the perfect book for me at this time, if
the cover hasn’t appealed to me, I won’t even pick it up.
another good one
The same is true for ebooks online or for books on bookstore
But most of all, what the cover has to do is deliver what
the book promises. Whether it be light and funny, dark and serious, gory and
Case in point, is Barbara’s newest book. Last week she showed you the two covers. I am
pleased to say that she consulted with me (and several others) when the
publisher first showed her their design. That was last autumn when I was on a
North Carolina book tour. I’d been in a
lot of bookstores, and one thing I noticed immediately was that the current
crop of “women’s fiction” all had covers in shades of baby blue. That first cover of Barbara’s would have
indicated to anyone browsing, that the book was something about “female
friendships”. Mystery readers would
have passed over it, and women’s fiction readers would have picked it up, read
the blurb and put it back down again.
The value of a good, and appropriate, cover can not be overestimated.