Sunday, March 6, 2011

Do You Judge A Book By Its Cover?

Good morning from sunny Cape Cod, where the temps are hovering around 40. Hey, this is a warm spell for us! I'm thinking spring will be here by June.

I just finished reviewing another book for Suspense magazine. I'm having such fun doing these, as I'm discovering writers whose books I haven't yet discovered. The down side to this, however, is that most of these books come from the publishers as ARCs, without the finished cover. Instead, as I'm sure all my fellow bloggers know, the publisher slaps a plain cover with book title and author name, publication date, and usually a label which warns in HUGE letters: "Uncorrected proofs for limited distribution. Not for sale. For review purposes only." Sort of like the warning label on mattresses:"Do not remove!" Etc. etc.

When I'm in my local indie bookstore checking out (and usually buying) the latest in cozy mysteries that I haven't yet read, I try to check on any books I've read in ARC form. I'm always amazed at how the cover art influences my feelings toward those books. I may know that the book itself is great, because I've already read and reviewed it, but if the cover art turns me off, and I knew nothing about that particular book, I probably wouldn't buy it.

For the second book in my Baby Boomer mysteries, Moving Can Be Murder, which will be released May 1 (little shameless self-promotion there), I worked for months with artists and designers to pick colors, theme, etc. I hope our decisions are the right ones to attract readers. Guess we'll know on May 2!

So here's my question to all of you reading this: How much does the cover of a book influence your buying? A little? A lot? Not at all?

5 comments:

Mark W. Danielson said...

I'm thinking a book with a big banner that reads, "DO NOT TOUCH" might get someone's attention. No doubt, we are drawn to attractive covers, but I agree with Jean that the description and first paragraph must still draw me in.

sraabca said...

I do and really wish I didn't, but I'm a visual gal. Not to say that I purchase every book that has a cover that grabs me because I agree with the others, you have to read a portion before you make that all important purchase.

Susan Santangelo said...

Back cover blurbs are important, too. I should have mentioned that in my original post. What about reviews on the back cover?

Ben Small said...

Yup. Both the front and back. The more useful stuff is on the back.

Carola said...

My ARCs have the same covers as the books--as the US editions of the books. In some cases, such as Anthem for Doomed Youth, which comes out at the end of this month, I very much prefer the UK cover. Wish Minotaur would adopt it...