Monday, June 21, 2010

Reviewing The Book Cover?

I’ve noticed an interesting trend recently amongst book reviewers. After reviewing the book itself, they toss in a comment or two on their feelings towards the cover. I think this is kind of a neat idea because the cover is a huge factor in the sale of the book. We are told not to judge a book by its cover, but when faced with rows of books we are unfamiliar with we’re naturally going to grab the one with the most interesting cover. (Be honest ;)
First and foremost, I think the cover of a book should represent the genre. Marketers will tell you most people stick to a particular genre. So, if you write mystery you want to catch the eye of the mystery reader and if you write romance you want to catch the eye of a romance reader. In many cases color alone will separate different genres. For instance: Dark, moody colors for mystery and light or bright colors for romance.
Personally, I have a couple things I don’t like. Book covers that simply show the location of the book bore me silly. :P One of my favorite writers put out an awesome suspense novel about human smuggling. The cover? A quant picture of the Chesapeake Bay area the story took place in. If I hadn’t already known the author I probably wouldn’t have picked it up.
I’m also iffy on the trend of putting a picture of what the character looks like on the cover. Sometimes it works, but sometimes I want to say, “That is not what the character looks like!” ;) I do know a lot of people who prefer the character’s picture to be front and center, however.
Below I’ve got a few of my favorite book covers and why I think they work. Here’s your part. Leave me the name of a book who’s cover you like! On Friday, I’ll put up a “Reader’s Choice” with a selection of your reviews. I can’t wait to see what you think makes a good cover! :)


The color pop is great, plus the image plainly says “Drama and humor!” ;)



The color and frilliness clearly say “romance,” but the designer also achieved a sense of intrigue. Frankly, it’s better than a lot of mysteries I’ve seen.


I really like this particular rerelease St. Martin’s did of Agatha Christie’s mysteries. Each cover is a simple, but eerie photograph that captures both the mystery and the vintage look Christie has come to be associated with.


This is the first romantic-western I was ever inclined to pick up. Why? It stood out on the display because every other book in the genre had a picture of a girl in a dress standing in front of some form of western scenery. I am not exaggerating. :P It gave me a "Hm, wonder what that one is about?" moment.

By the way, I would highly recommend all of these books.
So, what about you?

16 comments:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I prefer photos (some YA books use illustrations), especially pictures of the main character. But I love it when there's a mysterious element to the picture. The intrigue is enough for me to pick up the book and check out the blurb.

Jen said...

Wow the covers are awesome, the first two I would have picked up in a heartbeat, wouldn't have even needed to read about them, however the first one I would have wanted to read the blurb because the title was so interesting! Now I'm going to have too after writing this comment!

Great post!

Lydia Kang said...

I prefer photos too, because sometimes the illustrated ones look kind of boring (not always of course)
I am embarrased to say that a cover can really sway me into buying or not!

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Stina: I don't know why publishers don't get the apeal of mysterious book covers! ;)

Jen: Yes, I loved that title too. ;) Titles can be really important as well.

Lydia: Don't be embarssed. A lot of us do that. ;)

CMOM Productions said...

I'm always checking out book covers! I love Nora Robert's wedding quartet book series covers. You get the feel of what it's all about right away. I read a lot of mystery books, but I also dip into a romance (with comedy or "sass") from time to time. :)

Karen said...

Yes, if I don't know anything about the book-the cover must intrigue me. Love a good cover.

Emily Ann Benedict said...

M: Mystery and romance are my two favorite as well. :) Sometimes I think of looking at all the different covers out there as a mini-art exhibt. LOL

Karen: Covers really are a good way to reach new readers. :)

Jill Kemerer said...

I love covers. I don't love covers that have nothing to do with the book! That last picture of Fancy Pants really caught my eye!

Diane said...

I am totally biased by the cover. I will admit it. If I don't have that initial draw to it, then I move on.... :O)

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Jill: Actually, the cover of Fancy Pants has a lot to do with the story itself. I like it when, after reading the book, I can look at the cover and see the elements. :)

Diane: It really is a "do or die" moment for a lot of readers...and consequently authors. ;)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Emily Ann -

I love the cover on Julie Klassen's book, "The Apothecary's Daughter." It shouts, "romantic historical."

Photo covers draw me more than plain scenery. While they're important my book buying decisions are based more on reviews and word of mouth.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Karen Lange said...

I love it when a cover grabs me. If I don't care for a cover, I am less likely to pick the book up. I know, as a writer I shouldn't judge a book by its cover...working on that!
Blessings,
Karen

septembermom said...

I'm very visual in general. An intriguing photo or art piece on a cover will quickly draw me to open the book and read a few lines. Those covers are impressive. I think the right cover can increase the chances of a book moving off the shelves faster.

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Karen: It is odd for us not to read a book just because of the cover, but when it comes down to buying time packaging is important!

September mom: It is definitely a way to attract new readers!

Lydia Kang said...

I left you a choice of a blog award today! Congrats!

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