Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Judging A Book By Its Cover Elisabeth Rose

How much does cover art affect your choice of book?
As you know from my previous post on my library reading system, (scroll back and read it if you haven’t :) ) cover art plays no part at all in my choice, but for the bookshop or library browser it has a tremendous effect. My husband often looks at my latest library batch and says “That looks terrible” or “That one’s really boring” with barely a glance at the actual blurb let alone the first page.

Boy oh boy do we have an uphill battle to entice readers like him! Mind you he gobbles down biographies of his favourite musicians and the cover means nothing then.

I always think putting people on the cover of fiction is a big risk—particularly for romance. The faces rarely match the imagined character for writer or reader. But then those generic windswept hilltops with a generic couple clinging to each other amidst
flowing hair and half off gowns with bared chests, muscular shoulders and thighs and searing passion everywhere, tell the reader exactly what to expect.

I was very disappointed with the cover for my book with another publisher. Generally their covers are very good so it was doubly upsetting to get a bloke who couldn’t have been more wrong. He’s known in my writing group as ‘the dork.’ Apart from the unfortunate choice of model it’s a very nice design.

I haven’t seen a dud cover from Avalon yet and was even asked my opinion on the next one, Outback Hero, because the editors were worried the trees weren’t right for the Australian outback. They weren’t, but they are now. I’ve been genuinely thrilled with all mine so far and the ones on the Avalon website for my fellow authors look great. The Right Chord cover won the Best Short Romance Cover Contest at the RWAustralia 2008 conference by popular vote.
There’s no chance of our books featuring in those hilarious worst cover lists.
How lucky we are!

Tell us how cover art affects your choices. What’s a turn-off ? What’s enticing?


Zelda Benjamin said...

Avalon covers are wonderful. The cover for my last book Chocolate Secrets was so yummy I want to eat chocolate every time I look at the cover.
Oh well - I hope the readers don't stop there.

Nick Hoorweg said...

When I used to work in a record store, I was always amazed at the number of albums with brown covers. They seemed to be everywhere, and I never understood why anyone would ever sign off on a brown cover for their album. A brown cover immediately screams 'I'M BORING, DON'T LISTEN TO ME!', and never stands out, especially when surrounded by 20 other brown covers. Even the white bits were brown on some of them.

So as long as your book covers aren't all brown, you're doing alright ;)



Elisabeth Rose said...

Boring beige and conservative cream.

Unfortunately we authors don't get much say in the cover choice. I think may case was an exception. Maybe album covers are different.