Saturday 26 November 2011

Can you judge a book by its cover?

No, of course you can't. But if you're browsing in a bookshop, the cover is the first thing that catches your eye. After that, you (probably) pick it up, open it or read the blurb, look at the opening paragrpah...and then decide whether or not to buy it.

Above, are two (I think) excellent covers; covers that are striking and different, and that would make me want to pick up those books. Trades of the Flesh is by fellow Macmillan writer Faye L. Booth, and I think its cover is everything it needs to be to gain attention. The other cover is, I think, stunning, and compelled me to choose the book (which I hated, but that's another story!).

The paperback cover of mmy own The Birds, the Bees and Other Secrets, on the other hand, is (in restrospect) a disappointment. It doesn't stand out in the way the hardback cover did, and I wish now that it could have been different. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. A different cover might not have done anything for sales - who can tell? - but it would have made me feel a whole lot better!


  1. The pictures are so tiny it makes it difficult for me (very bad eyesight, I'm afraid) to really say anything about the first one; the second one is easier to see even on this small scale.

    What would you have changed for your own book cover if you had been given the chance? Did you have any say in the choise of cover design, or do publishers do that without consulting their authors?
    I think if I was an author and I was involved in the decision, I'd find it very hard to settle on one of several drafts or samples.

  2. Covers are soooo very important> You are right it's the 'pick it up' in the first place factor!!

  3. Librarin, I would have kept the hardback cover, which is nice and clean and clear. But a certain major chain store said it wouldn't stock it, so a new cover had to be provided. Yes. We do have a say, and at the time I didn't think the paperback cover was too bad, but when I saw it in Tesco's it simply merged into the background.

    Thanks, Pat!

  4. Yes, but you did see it in Tesco's. A different cover wouldn't have sold better if it wasn't stocked.

  5. Interesting discussion as I am wondering how my cover will is beautiful but will it stand out enough....will have to wait until May to find out...


  6. I'm often struck by how often the cover speaks to me - also the title. God, titles are so hard.

  7. Patsy, it wasn't Tesco's who wanted the cover changed!

    Liz - your cover is lovely. Have faith!

    Jenny - I love titles. Send me your plot and I'll christen it!