There are a few things we aspiring writers do when we dream about getting published, and I don’t mean the nuts bolts of actually writing down our stories. We also daydream, a fair bit I’d hazard to say, about things like, who will play the main characters in the film adaptation of our bestselling novel, (yes, I have cast The Point, but not yet Shadows), who will sing the breakout hit on the soundtrack (Adele or James Blunt), and what the cover will look like.
Yes, I’ve even doodled mock-up covers before.
Unfortunately, unless you self-publish you have little (i.e. no) control over what your cover will look. And despite the age-old adage that you can’t judge a book by its cover, it is in fact, the single most important factor influencing a potential buyer when it comes to new authors. Once you’ve found an author you love, the importance of cover design and title (explored here) don’t matter too much. But, when perusing the book shelves randomly (actual or virtual), the steps for discovering a new author go like this.
- Head to the genre you’re interested in
- Look at the masses of books in front of you till one of the covers grabs you
- Look at the title
- Read the blurb on the back
- Some people will read opening pages, (importance here).
It’s the cover that grabs us first, before we learn what the story is about, before we even look at the writing.
So I always find it curious when books are published with different covers. Barring any specific cultural concerns when publishing for foreign markets, or re-releases with the movie tie-in cover, why do covers change from place to place, or edition to edition? Synics might suggest it’s a marketing ploy, and I do know people who have to have every edition of a novel by favourite authors, and will buy every cover they can find.
I recently bought a book online purely and simply because of the cover.
My thinking was even if I don’t like the book, the cover is so pretty I have to have it. I did enjoy the book, but I think the cover trumps the story.
And while researching for this post I found 2 other covers for this same book.
When I think of The Red Tent,
I’m not sure I’d have picked it up off the shelf, if the version I’d seen had been the later cover (a little too biblical looking for my personal taste), and I might well have missed out on this amazing novel that tops my list of favourite reads (here).
Here a few more examples of changes to covers.
Out of these three, does one grab you straight away, one leave you cold?
I find these examples of Kate Morton’s ‘The Secret Keeper’ really interesting, when you consider just how important cover design is. I LOVE the UK cover, am ‘so-so’ about the Australian cover (interestingly), and really don’t care for the US cover at all.
Have you ever bought a book solely because of the cover? Did you end up liking the book or not?
Is there a type of cover you’re always drawn to?
Is there a type you always steer clear of?
Ok, back to doodling my own covers now….(I mean editing my MS).
I’m joining in the Hump Day Blog Hop again, so if you want to find out what other authors are up to, click below…