Books, Marketing, My Books, Novel, Publish

Do you judge a book by its cover?

We’re told not to judge a book by its cover. Then again, we’re told how important first impressions are. Hmmm. Well, when I scroll through a list of books online, it’s their covers that make a first impression, and I do judge them. If a cover is not well designed, or doesn’t fit the tone or genre of the book, it’s not the best cover for that book.

Do you see that book cover there on the right? It’s about to change, which I guess makes that cover a collector’s item. I designed that cover with my own artwork. It’s not horrid, but it really only makes sense after you read the book. In that sense, it’s a fail. It also doesn’t make the genre clear. Fail. I did the best I could, but I didn’t really understand the job a book cover plays in selling the book.

This is not just my opinion. Four graphic designers told me the same thing. One of those designers is also a friend, and she offered to help. She doesn’t design full time—she’s also an author—but I’d seen covers she designed for herself and others and thought they were all beautiful, so I said, “Heck yeah!”

I’d never worked with a designer before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I confess I’m not always easy to work with. I’m a perfectionist. I worried about how much I might bug her with my nitpicking, but so far we’re still friends. 🙂 Now we’re down to the fine-tuning, and I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

The new cover is GORGEOUS!!! She took the two stock photos I selected, added another, and created a cover beyond my dreams. I can’t wait to share it with you.

So tell me:  When you’re faced with a screen filled with small cover images of books you know nothing about, do you judge those books by their covers, or do you read the description of each one?

35 thoughts on “Do you judge a book by its cover?”

  1. I guess I do tend to look at the cover first but the title also catches my eye as well as the write up on the back. I also will go with a book recommended by a trusted reader, no matter what the cover looks like. I really think it is the whole package.
    I can’t wait to see the new cover! I am pleased I have a collecter’s copy.

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    1. Definitely, Darlene, it’s the whole package that ultimately makes me decide to read a book, but I was talking about that few seconds’ first impression you get when scrolling through something like the Top 100 novels at Amazon.

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  2. I absolutly look at a cover. I don’t shop much on line, and at the boosktore I look at covers first. I don’t even think of it consciously, but maybe it’s the imagery or the colours, that has to grab me first, and then I look at titles. There’s too much for it to be otherwise. From there I go back cover, often I just read first few lines and will decide from there.

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    1. No, Trish, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book just because I liked the cover. In fact, last year I tried to read a book that had a cover I adored, but I just couldn’t get into it.

      And thank you for the link to that helpful post. 🙂

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      1. Mmm, that does happen now that you mention it. I’ve been seduced by a few covers that don’t quite do it for me…

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