Do you judge a book by its cover?

jpeg A friend gave me the award winning The Whaleboat House by Mark Mills (which started out as Amagansett before it was republished with the new title). This was lucky for me because I loved it but would have never picked it up based on either of its titles or the dreary brown cover.

Almost all the best books I’ve read have been suggested by friends. What about you? How do you chose a book? A friend’s recommendation? A review? The title? An award of some sort? Or do you judge a book by its cover? I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially as we’re now coming up to designing the cover for Killer Shoeshine 😉

Finally, a HUGE thanks to all for your thoughts on the title for my new novel. You’ve been very helpful. We are leaning towards “Killer Shoeshine” but this may change  before or even after it’s published! Meanwhile, as a thank you for your input we put your names  into a hat and Juliet Wilson’s came out!

Well done, Juliet (AKA CraftyGreenPoet)!  You win a copy of The Blue Suitcase or Food of Ghosts, paperback or ebook!

Front Cover food of ghosts cover final4


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10 Responses to Do you judge a book by its cover?

  1. Katie says:

    Hi Marianne

    I quite like the cover of The Whaleboat House… It looks very reflective to me…

    I think I choose books based on if I like the sound of what they are about. Sometime a title will draw me in to see if the book is my sort of read too. I’ve also read a few books friends have suggested. However I often skip over the covers. I love books that have the old style covers, because they just hold a mystery for me. (That’s likely just me being me through) That said I do think it’s important to get a cover to match your story and gene. For example if you’re writing about ‘war’, you’re unlikely to want a bright cover filled with dragons and bright fairies. Or if you are writing about magic and fantasy, you are unlikely to want a cover that’s dull grey with no magic or that doesn’t in some way tell a small snapshot of the story. So it’s great to get a balance when it come to covers as they are the first thing readers do see. And are likely the deciding factor in standing out enough for a reader to read the blub or the first few pages.

    I hope you’re all well!!
    Take care.

    • Thanks, Katie. Great to hear your thoughts on covers. Yes, I think one of the trickiest things is designing a cover which suggests the type of book inside, and one which is also intriguing enough to make the reader want to open the book. At least, though, with a cover you have pictures to play with (unlike with the title) and as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words!
      Thanks again 🙂

  2. Kendra says:

    Hi Marianne,
    Sometimes I’m attracted by the cover, but often I go on a recommendation, or the blurb. I have such a long list of books I want to read, and haven’t yet, that I tend to just be looking out for those. But every now and then another title will attract me enough to buy it. I have to say that some of the best books I’ve read recently have been recommendations from friends.
    I look forward to seeing the cover design for Killer Shoeshine!
    Best wishes,

    • Thanks, Kendra. Like you, I tend to look out for books that have been recommended. It doesn’t always work. I was given The Red Tent ( by Anita Diamant) by a really good friend, whose taste in books I usually admire, but I really really didn’t like this load of … don’t get me started on it …!!! I also read book reviews but they are not always reliable. Will be posting the first draft designs for Killer Shoeshine here soon … luckily they have nothing to do with me as I am useless with design/colour and pictures ot anything arty!
      Thanks again 🙂

  3. I browse, if the blurb appeals I then read a few paragraphs from somewhere in the middle of the book. I can be swayed by the cover, for example Anne Patchet’s The Magician’s Assistant just isn’t the same in ther versions that don’t have the rabbit on the front cover!

    Thanks for the prize, a lovely surprise!

    • You’re very welcome to the prize 🙂 Will forward today. I think a cover can be such a fun and intriguing addition to a book but an awful lot of covers, especially in crime fiction and especially in the last ten years or so, seem to be generic mush – a black and white photo of nowhere/anywhere. You know what I mean? I’m not a fan of photo covers either but they seem popular. Maybe I am old fashioned? (I imagine photo covers are easier and less expensive to produce than to pay a designer /artist to create something new and unique.)
      Thanks for comments 🙂

  4. Hi Marianne, I have a number of books on my shelves that I bought purely because I liked the covers. Some have been great, others less so. 😉

    I have Amagansett on my shelf (glad they renamed it… who can pronounce that???) and I bought it not because of the cover (which is different to yours, mostly cream with a teal title on the bottom and a teal fisherman pulling in nets at the top) but because it was in the bargain bin. Fortunately, I liked it.

    Looking forward to seeing your cover designs for Shoeshine!

    • Hi Belinda,
      there are some great covers out there, I agree. And if such a book were in a bargain bin, ah well, then I would be very tempted ;o)

      I’m glad you liked Amagansett. After I finished it I read some bad reviews online and was surprised. Maybe I enjoyed it all the more because I didn’t know what to expect? (I sometimes think so much hype comes with some books it can be hard not to disappoint.)

      Thanks for comment and Killer cover designs coming up … soonish ;o)

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