Judging a Book by its Cover

Monday, September 2, 2013



Most of us are familiar with the saying that you can't judge a book by its cover. That works both ways, I think. I've come across some poorly-written stories with fabulous covers and I've read really good stories that come in not-so-nice packaging. 

Luckily for me, my books that are with publishers have nice covers. I was lucky enough to see my 'vision' come to fruition through snazzy-looking covers. Admittedly, the concept I had wasn't used for one novel, but I'm pleased with what the artist produced.

Since going indie, finding the right image for my books has been an adventurous process. When I hit on the right image, everything clicks and I know I've found exactly what I need for a cover. Unfortunately, before I get to that stage, it means trolling through scads of pictures until my eyeballs are about ready to bleed. Still, ending up with a cover that represents my book well is worth the hours it takes to play with images and fonts until I find something that I like. 


Before I give the final nod to a cover, I try to look at it dispassionately.

  • Is it a true representation of my story?
  • Does the character on the cover match the persona I've created in the story?
  • When it is reduced on Amazon, will the cover hold its own of just be a fuzzy image that people will pass over on the way to something else?
  • Does it characterize (somewhat) covers in its genre?
  • Will I cringe every time I look at it and see my name attached to it?

The ability to mix and match and fiddle with stuff is one of the major benefits of indie publishing. No need to be stuck with something that doesn't quite fit and even if it works for a while, there is still the option to make adjustments. 

Bigstock image I'll be playing with next
Some months ago, I did several mock ups of a cover and asked people to choose the one they liked best. That poll was very helpful and has helped me to come up with what will likely be the most aesthetically pleasing cover for my next release. 

As I continue along this journey, I'm learning interesting things every day. The learning curve can be mega steep, but for all the complicated programmes out there, there are others that make being a do-it-yourself a breeze. One of my latest fun tools is Smart Photo Editor that I found out about from another writer, Shah Wharton. Have I mentioned lately that writers are the best? 

What's the latest adventure you've taken on? Found any cool tools lately? Do share. 

Talk to you later. I'll be away from the computer for most of today. Hope you're having a great start to the week. 

15 comments:

  1. I agree with the adage "Don't judge a book by it's cover." I try not to.

    I'm also thinking about covers for two books. Have a good day.

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  2. I've been thinking about changing my covers for that last little while. I love my covers, but I saw a cover from an author recently that I totally love, and had an idea how to create the same "kind" of thing for mine. But we'll see. As you well know, eyeballs have a tendency to bleed. So.

    Have a great week.

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    1. Anne, with so much to do it feels exhausting to think about changing a cover when there's a lot of other stuff that needs doing. I use covers as a way to de-stress from one project. By the time I get bored messing with images and photos, I'm good to go on the other thing I decided to neglect. Hope you find the time and energy to re-do your covers.

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  3. I admit I do judge. If the cover doesn't pull me in, it won't matter how good the book, I'll never read the synopsis.
    I've been fortunate with my covers as well. My publisher does a great job.

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    1. There are some really interesting covers out there. I'll move on to the synopsis if the title and cover grabs me.

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  4. I got a e-galley book last month which book had an amazing cover. The story was so off putting I couldn't get far before chucking it. Definitely don't be entranced by nice cover. I think the cover for my novella Sacrifice Her will definitely catch potential readers eye. Glad you have had excellent luck with your covers, authors need to remember that bad covers don't help their books.

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    1. Sheena, I hope Sacrifice Her does well. A distinctive cover does wonders for a book.

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  5. Oh you are so right! I've been lured by awesome covers to be deeply disappointed with the book.

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  6. Joy, your covers are always awesome. I think the hardest part for a lot of indies is the font. That is where yours shine. I don't think finding the picture is the hardest part, although time consuming. I often see a gorgeous picture made to look second rate by the incorrect font.

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  7. I don't envy you the job of putting a cover together! I absolutely love the covers for Christine's Odyssey and Saving Sam. And the stock photo above is gorgeous!

    My next adventure is getting a website together. I'm so not a computer tech gal!

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  8. Thanks for sharing your process with us a few steps behind you. I love a good book cover. It will draw me in to a book, so I can see why authors give this such very careful consideration. I love what you are considering. Very sensual.

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  9. Ha, I love your 'will I cringe' question. It's a good question!

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  10. Thanks for commenting guys. Running days behind as usual!

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Don't be shy. I'd love to hear what you think.