Book covers must be important, right? If they were not, publishers would merely wrap brown paper around the book and write the title and the author’s name on it. Book covers are meant to attract buyers and readers. But of course lots of people–publishers, authors, and readers–have their own ideas on what will best do that and what the attraction ought to be. What should the cover of a romance suggest, for example? That the book is sexy? That it is a heart-melting romance? That it is a deeply passionate love story that may appeal to a broader audience than just committed romance readers? The answers to these questions and others can lead to vastly different covers. And who knows which approach will sell more copies and attract more new readers?
Consider these three covers of THE PROPOSAL (out in paperback this week of May 28). These are the hardback cover, the British cover, and the mass market cover. It is hard to believe that they can be one and the same book, isn’t it? They represent different visions of what the story may have to offer readers. Which would be more likely to make you pick up the book if you had never heard of me? There is no correct answer, by the way!
I admit that occasionally I choose a book because I am attracted to the cover. I will even admit to rejecting a few books because I dislike the cover, even though I ought to know better–we all know that a cover is not always a good representation of the story within, and it is the one aspect of the book over which the author has least control. However, in the vast majority of cases, my choice of a book has nothing whatsoever to do with the cover. I buy it because I like the author or because I have heard good things about it. The cover is merely the icing on the cake–and I don’t always like icing. It is the cake that matters.
How important is a cover to you? What is likely to attract you? Or repel you? Which of the three PROPOSAL covers do you like best?
To one person who leaves a comment before the end of next Tuesday, June 4, I will send another advance copy of THE ARRANGEMENT. Last week’s winner was Sue Harrison. And thank you for all the wonderful comments on the Cinderella theme. I assure you I read them all.