So, this week I’m probably going to get some flack for my topic choice, but hey, maybe not. Today I want to muse a bit about covers of books, what they do for the book, and that it’s pretty okay to do what we’re told never to do and judge a book by it’s cover.
I’m sure everyone has heard or been told at least once in their life not to judge a book based on it’s aesthetic appeal. We’ve all been told it by someone: “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” or “It’s what on the inside that matters.” And, I do try to live my readership life by abiding by these rules. It is what’s on the inside that truly does count. The story is what matters most.
Let’s face facts. I’m sure at one point we’ve all judged a book solely on it’s cover. It’s okay; go ahead; admit it. Now, as someone with a degree in Professional Writing and Publishing, I can tell you why sometimes you are right to do this and why you find yourself not disappointed when you pick up that book with the really pretty cover simply because you love the really pretty cover.
So, what can a pretty cover mean for the book you’re about to read? Probably the biggest factor that a cover can tell you is how established the publishing company that published the book is. The prettier the cover, the more expensive it was to publish. When you see an exceptionally beautiful cover sitting among some stacks or shelves, you can tell that the publishers dished out some big bucks to pay for that cover art.
And, you best believe this was not an accident. This is the publisher’s way of making you want to buy a copy of the book. Now, you might say that why don’t all publishers just make pretty covers so you buy their books? Well, this plays into how established the publisher already is. If it is one of the big shots – Penguin; Little, Brown; Harper Collins; and the like – then you know it’s going to be a good, or at least controversially good book, especially if they went the extra mile to make the cover stand out. Publishers like this only pick up books that they think will sell and one of the tactics to get said book to sell is to doll it up with a cover you just can’t pass up.
You can really see this affect if you compare books published by one of the elites to those by small publishing house or though self-publishing. You can definitely tell the difference, and the publishers know that you can. This can also be a good strategy used for books published by lesser known independent publishers or publishing houses. If they find a manuscript that is really good, they are going to want to catch your eye. So, they spend the extra money to make that cover as fancy as they can.
Now, of course, this theory doesn’t work every time. Maybe read the description, too (another important piece of trying to sell a book). The blurb is like the cover, if it reads mediocre, then the book most likely will as well. Anyway, I’m just letting you know that it is 100% okay to go ahead and judge that book by it’s cover. Regardless of what we say, covers really are important. They do a significant amount of the work of actually selling the book to the audience. So, if you’re going to read a book based solely on the pretty cover. Do it. There is a 90% chance you will not be disappointed.
That’s all for today, especially since I already got this out pretty late, even though I got home for work hours ago. How did that happen? And I’m exhausted tonight for some reason. Hope everyone had a decent Monday. As always, please feel free to follow, add, and/or contact me on Tumblr, Goodreads, and Instagram.