This week on the Fiction Writers’ Blog Hop, our wonderful host Julie has set the theme COVERS. Despite the old adage, “never judge a book by its cover”, the simple fact is, we do. All the time. And for good reason. It helps us get a feel for what the book is about and if it’s something we’ll be interested in. Helps us cut through the masses of volumes out there to find something we’d like to read.
If you see on a cover a long-haired woman busting out of a corset, being held by a bare-chested hunk, you know instantly it’s an historical romance, and whether that’s for you or not. If you see a dagger dripping with blood on a black background, chances are it’s a murder mystery. If you see…well, you get my point. There are very calculated reasons why publishers choose the covers they do and there are marketing professionals out there smarter than me getting paid big bucks to figure all that out.
So I’m not going to go there.
But what if, just imagine, there were NO COVERS.
What if all that was printed on a book cover was the title and author’s name. TWILIGHT, before it became a movie and we all knew what it was about, without its black and red theme and the imagery of temptation in the apple, might well be a story about an old couple falling in love in their ‘twilight years’. Who knows?
And Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER, which was first published in Australia under the title CROSS STITCH, might well have been a non-fiction book about needle work if it weren’t for the cover suggesting it was actually a novel with something to do with Scottish standing stones.
And let’s take this one step further. What if there were NO COVERS and NO TITLES?
Well, people, it’s being done! Sort of. I saw this first somewhere on social media and the idea is intriguing. It’s known as Blind Date with a Book.
Close to home, Elizabeth’s Bookstore in Sydney is doing it. And a quick search on google brings up a plethora of results, so this is really a thing. Everywhere.
Basically the staff at the book store wrap (a) book(s) in brown paper and use a few key words to describe the book.
Can you imagine picking a book like this? At the moment it’s just a bit of a gimmick to get people to read outside their comfort zone, or a fun way to gift books. And I think it’s a great idea. I don’t know if I’d be game enough to try it. What if I got something that was totally not my thing? But then, that is the whole point, right? And apparently if you get something you’ve already read, you can exchange it. So maybe it’s worth a go. Might be a bit of fun.
And that’s what is – a bit of fun, and any idea that’s fun and gets people reading, is alright in my book (no pun intended).
But, hang on, just wait.
What if this takes off?
What it becomes more than a bit of fun?
What if it becomes a publishing norm (you know, cost-cutting and all)?
What about you? Would you ever blind date a book?