Well, everyone does. I think it’s safe to say that just about anyone will overlook a book with a dumb cover, even if the actual story is great.
I’m not accusing anyone of judging books by their covers; I do it too! I always hated going to the library as a kid and seeing all these books that had poorly drawn covers. The characters looked like colored stick figures with inflated heads. It turned me off almost immediately.
Nowadays, especially whenever you self-publish (and you’re a nobody like me), having a gripping cover is increasingly important. There’s a lot of competition. It’s important to do things right. What’s more, almost all of your sales are going to be online, so your cover image is going to be thumbnail-sized.
Dang, things just got harder!
Why do people really judge books by their covers though? I mean, everyone knows that we “shouldn’t”. So why do we?
Nowadays, let’s be honest, we prefer everything to be digital. We prefer everything to be seen, and we want to be able to see everything. We are entering an age–thanks to technology–where everything is at our fingertips. And usually this entails being able to see what’s at our fingertips.
Well, now apply this to book covers.
The function of a book cover isn’t just to “cover” a book…not anymore, at least. It’s meant to inspire certain emotions and feelings within the onlookers. It’s meant to arouse interest. It’s meant to appeal to that preference of seeing everything.
What does that mean?
People don’t want to have to READ your book in order to know what it’s about. People want to be able to look at your cover and know and FEEL what it’s about. If the cover appeals to their feelings, then they will read it.
(It’s not surprising that many book covers out there are now slutty images of partially nude men and women being “sexy” *rolls eyes* #uncreative)
What does a good cover look like?
Here’s one of my favorite covers EVER:
Halt’s Peril, to me, has a wonderful cover. It’s gripping. It’s beautiful. It’s expressive. You get a sense of motion. You get a sense of danger and intensity. You get a sense of the conflict occurring, and the “closeness” of the fight ensuing (meaning, “Oh GOSH! That was close!”).
I think more covers should look like this one. Now, I know not everyone can AFFORD a cover like this. And that’s a bummer.
But, well, at least we know what to shoot for, even if we’ll never get there.
You might be wondering, “Why is Dom talking about this????”
Well, maybe it has to do with the fact that my own book cover is coming out!
Before, my awesome sister had been the one that created my covers. And she did an awesome job, given the resources that she had (uh, practically none!). But now we’ve been working with a friend who has some better resources and a bit more experience with this kind of stuff. And let me tell you, the cover is looking GORGEOUS.
Elithius is gonna’ be getting a new look! Stay tuned!
What do you think? Do you think people judge books by their covers? What do you think a great cover should look like?