January 31, 2014
We’ve all heard the saying “You should never judge a book by its cover” but in reality, we all do. A good cover needs to pop out from the page, shout “Hey, look at me!” especially when it’s in that teeny tiny thumbnail size nestled amongst a hundred other books on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
It needs an easily readable title. Some covers will have the author name bigger than the title–for traditionally published books, that’s usually reserved for big-name authors who have a following of readers who buy based on name. But now with self-publishing the author has more control over that. 😉 . And there are other elements that tell the reader what genre it is.
In my very unscientific survey (as in I looked at various book covers on-line) science fictions usually have brighter colors, much more contrast. They have sciencey (yes, I’m declaring that a word–I like it better than the cold “scientific”) elements, computers or test tubes or formulas. Literary novels tend to have more a single graphic with more emphasis drawing the reader’s eye to the title. Romances tend to have a clinch cover, or a guy with a bare chest — come on, tell me Jaci Burton’s covers for her Play-by-Play series aren’t totally lickable.) And usually they’ll have some other element that will tell the reader if it’s in a sub-genre. A cowboy hat or a field or cowboy boots for a western, historical westerns traditionally have an amber hue to them. A fan or a woman in historical garb generally tells you that you’re picking up a historical. The hero carrying a football, or a pair of skates slung over his shoulder, or maybe a tennis racket tells the reader (or at least the reader should assume) that there’s a sports element to that particular story. Again I’ll point to Jaci Burton’s covers, because come on, lickable! (Although my friend Mary G tells the story of a book where there’s a tennis racket on the cover, and the reviewer who lambasted the story because it involved *gasp* tennis — in that case I blame the reader as being clueless.) Then there are all those headless heroes so as not to disappoint the reader’s mental image of the hero.
Anyway, I opened my email the other day and found the final cover for my upcoming No Accounting for Cowboys, which is Jake’s story in my Grady Legacy trilogy. What does it tell you about the story?