A Book By It’s Cover

I’ll own it, I’ll put my name it…I do judge a book by its cover.  Yep, that’s right.  This girl, right here, is shallow enough to gauge her interest based firstly on a pretty picture.

But, I don’t think I’m the only one.

Books are sold with covers for a reason.

The first books we enjoy as children are picture books with few words and fat, cardboard pages. While we learn to master the skill of reading at large, we look for picture clues.  Books in book stores aren’t sold face down. Book covers are art.

Lets talk TWILIGHT (again) for a minute.  Those ghostly pale hands gently cradling an overly ripe red apple are trademarked, did you know that?   So for all you independent artists out there looking to make your own rendition–think twice, Summit will be all over that real quick.  That cover–more so than the rest–have come to stand for something–it is the image of the story.  Other YA authors have cashed in on the black/white/red trinity as well.  Don’t believe me?  Run to Barnes & Nobel…head straight to the YA section…count how many books you see that smack of the saga?

I believe it’s because, at first glance, it strikes a chord with readers looking for something new.  If you love, love, love Edward Cullen or Jacob Black Twilight then the sight of the color trifecta probably evokes a strong emotion in you, inspires you to pick the book up, run your fingers over the embossed, glossy cover, flip the thick novel over, glance-read the back.  That five seconds you spent with that book based on how those colors made you feel is a lot longer than other novels ever get.

So, guess what?  I’m taking this next step so, so seriously.  I’m pretty neurotic when it comes to my book in general (can you tell?!) and the cover is absolutely my non-negotiable.  I have a vision.  I probably first felt it bubble in my chest before I even finished the book.

I’ll be honest, again.  I’ve spent a lot of time looking at other covers.  And, I can sometimes tell an Indie Author from a Trad Author based on cover alone (put the pitch forks away, please).  I know, I know…but sometimes I just can.  The one’s I can spot tend to look…flat…even with dimension.  Sometimes they’re silly or underdone or overdone…and my eyes slide right past them.  I can’t help it.  I have a guttural reaction to covers.

Writing Women’s Fiction, in general, follows a certain recipe; a cup of this, a pinch of that.  And the covers of the books tend to be pretty, soft, feminine with a distinct flow.  I’m not departing from that, but the problem was–for a while–all I could find were…ummm…thing that weren’t my style.  Very bright, bold, dramatic covers better suited for action or horror or even erotica.  Definitely not my thing.

I found a few really great artists who I’ve had to ask to stretch.  But that’s okay, stretching is good–right?  I’m in no position to do it myself–I’m not savvy with graphics, sad but unfortunately true.  What I finally figured out, with the coaching from other published authors, was to look beyond the fantasy and see the skill.  If they can do all that…they should be able to do all this.

Right now I’m a kid on December 21st…days away from tearing into my big wishes…and anxious.  For a girl really driven by design, this is a HUGE mile marker for me…that little place where this dream becomes just a pinch more real.


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