We All Do It

Don’t lie guys. We all judge books based on their cover designs. It’s okay.

I’ll be completely honest. It’s either a synopsis/review or a sample that gets me to buy a book. If I can test the water and see how I like it, great! If someone tells me what it’s about and I like the premise, also great! The thing is: I’m never going to read the first few pages or even a synopsis on the inside flap of a book if the cover art isn’t appealing.

It’s not just me. Most people are this way.

On that note, I’m not saying that this concept is unheard of. Obviously publishing companies and indie authors alike spend large amounts of money or time figuring out the ideal way to approach cover art, and I know that there are many factors involved in that kind of decision-making.

I, personally, am interested in hearing other individuals’ ideas about what might be the best cover art for what they read.

Here’s a rundown of what my bookshelf looks like from where I’m sitting:

  • I don’t see any pink. I can see at least a little of every other color, but there’s no pink up there.
  • I don’t see any books with a photo of a person as the cover art. There are people on the covers of some, but they’re not photos. Generally I find that photographs of people on the covers of books take away from my reading experience. Not sure why exactly. Maybe because I like to maintain my own mental images of the characters?
  • I don’t see anything super intricate. By which I mean most of the designs are–quite literally–easy on the eyes. Not having to process too much visual information can help catch my eye in the bookstore, I guess. (The exception to this is my copy of Annotated Alice, which has a patterny design around the edges that makes me dizzy when I look at it up close. Alice wasn’t an impulse buy by any means, by the way, so I don’t know if it counts in this study.)

What do you value in a book cover? Do you have a favorite?

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6 responses to “We All Do It

  1. I have no pink on my shelves, either. Most of my covers have a basic theme, a location in the book or a picture of the main character (the latter is especially true for my older, YA books that I bought when I was sixteen). Personally, I’m a floral/grunge nut. Anything on the cover with either element (particularly floral or filigree patterns) will make me pause and pick them up, mostly because they’re rarely done well. Personally, for the novel I’m working on, I have two designs in mind, both with simple or easy to latch on to ideas and concepts. Nothing mind-bending, but definitely tailored more towards women.

    • That’s interesting. I usually avoid floral patterns and whatnot. Must be because I’m a man. I dunno.
      I’ve had the cover for my first book planned for a while too and my cover art designer just got me a draft that looks like it has some potential. Check it out and let me know what you think of it. 😀 It’s on my “Works” page.

      • This is the style I’m talking about–especially the book cover titled Fly Day. It does have a more feminine feel, and a lot of the covers that designer does is for erotic romance stories, haha. But all the same, I love that style though I don’t want to exclude any men from my audience.

        And I like your cover art! Who’d you get to draw that? It seems really, I don’t know, basic but deep at the same time. At least that’s how I see it.

  2. Ah, yes. I see what you mean. Those loopy filigree designs are definitely eye-catching, and I do usually see them on the YA shelves at Barnes.

    Although I dabble in visual arts on top of writing, my girlfriend is an amazing painter and I always go to her for stuff like that. She’s one of my beta readers and she helped with the concept of the picture, the construction of the picture, AND the new title of the novel.

    • Man, you are just surrounded by awesomely creative people! Bet your girlfriend is proud of your writing. I’m at page 50 of your WIP and loving it. =)

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