Monday, February 24, 2014

Judging a book by its cover.

Part of the secret squirrel stuff that I've been doing lately is working with my publishers on designing book covers. This is an ongoing process and obviously all will be revealed in due course. All I'll say is, well . . . I'm in love. I hope you will be too once when the time comes for the cover reveal.

Now I have to say that I am in the very fortunate position of having something of a say in the ideas I had for book covers. I guess it's one of the benefits of being with a smaller publishing house, or maybe it's just because my publishers are so wonderful. From what I've heard about with the more traditional publishing houses, they tend to have complete and total control over it unless you're a best-selling author and the first time you see it is as a set in stone final image. As a debut novelist, you can pretty much forget about having a say. Of course, that's purely conjecture based on what I've read on other publishing blogs, so I could be wrong. Regardless, as I said, I'm lucky enough to have some say.

Part of the process has been discussing the character, the book, how to sum up the story with a single image and because it's part of a series, how to carry that image/theme though out the rest of the series. It got me thinking about a blog post. What makes a good cover?

For me, a good book cover should convey the mood of the story. If the front cover is all rainbows and puppies, I'm not going to be expecting to see angst within the pages. The opposite is true, a dark and depressing cover on the front of a comedy just doesn't work, unless of course it's a dark comedy. One example of great covers which perfectly convey the tone of the books are the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. For the UK and Australian books the bright illustrations that wraparound the covers are fun and silly, and hint at the silliness that will be contained between the pages.

Do you ever judge books by their covers? Have you seen a cover and not read the contents? Conversely, have you found a great cover and the book just hasn't lived up to the expectation? I have to say I probably have done both.


  1. American covers in general are horrid.

    1. I know a few people who prefer the Aus/UK version of covers for sure.