Don’t judge a book by its cover! This is a frequently used expression, right? We have heard it a lot and not only regarding books but everyone at some point is guilty of doing just that.
A book cover is the first meeting impression you get with a book. Your visual connection to the story so you see the importance of a good cover.
But what makes up a good cover?
I’ve always thought it comes down to balance. There needs to be a meeting point between the authors’ work, the marketing standards (because it is a product that we need to sell obviously) and the reader’s preference. It’s easy to say but very hard to do which is why we often come across so many similar covers, and very awful ones too.
For instance it’s very common in romance novels to have the headless torso cover, or in new adult the almost kissing couple. We see them so often they tend to blend together, not to mention that sometimes it’s actually the same cover with different background, it doesn’t reflect at all the story in the book it just lets you know how hot a guy’s abs can be.
If we talk about historical romances they have evolved a bit from the passionate embracing couple to the period style dresses girl standing alone may be to make them a bit more refined and yet It’s formulaic and I might say a bit lazy, It fails to draw me into picking up the book. When I actually do pick up a Historical romance it tends to do with the time period it’s set in, I usually hate the covers.
If we move to YA fantasy, these covers are the equivalent of a fashion victim, what’s hot right now that’s what you get. And recently a bad ass girl with a sword is what’s hot, it doesn’t matter if there’s not a sword at all in the story. Just that it’s fashionable. Although it might be changing a bit, like I said poor cover fashion victims..
But really, seeing so many similar covers doesn’t let a book stand out it just makes it easy to ignore, so, it’s something that really needs to be very carefully studied from the marketing point of view. What really draws people in? What makes them pick a book up?
There are a few examples where a revamped cover makes a book more eye catching, for example The New Mortal Instruments, they have some of the balance that I mentioned earlier, in this case portraying the characters on the covers and some of the things (weapons) that are characteristics of them.
But still there are some other that have been epic failures like Vampire Academy. As far as us readers go well just have to keep repeating to ourselves don’t judge a book by its cover even if it’s a bad cover, or a cheesy one the story inside might be great.
What are your favorite covers? Do you judge a book by its cover? Let me know in the comments.