Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Seduced By A Book Cover

“You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.” How many times have we heard that statement? The fact is that when it comes to a book by an author I haven’t read before, along with the genre, cover blurb, and the first few lines, the cover does play a part in my decision whether to read it. I have bought a book based on the cover art. I hold my hands up – a books cover can seduce me.

But I’ve realised recently that it can also play a part in which anthologies I choose to submit stories to. Not all of them; I wouldn’t go as far as to not submit to a publication just because I didn’t like the cover. Other factors are more important, such as the publisher and editor history and whether I want to write in that particular genre. Still, when Pill Hill Press posted the details for a new anthology, entitled 2013: The Aftermath, and I saw the cover art on their forum, I was blown away. I had to get into that anthology, and last week I was thrilled when my short short story, Hometown, was accepted.

What do you think of the cover art? I think it’s spectacular.

Is cover art a factor when you purchase a book? Does it depend on whether you are reading a new author or not? Cover art doesn't alter my decision to buy a book from an author I've read before; I already know I enjoyed that writer's work.

Has cover art affected your decision as to whether to submit a story to a publication? Is it wrong to let cover art become a factor in our decisions, or does it teach us how important a book's cover is? If you chose to go down the self-publishing route, how much will you pay to get it right? If a publisher offers you a book deal, how much say do you get over to the final cover anyway?


  1. Hi Ellie,
    I'm guilty of judging books by their covers, especially when deciding which to pick up off a shelf. However, after picking up a book, even if the cover isn't the greatest, if the first few pages capture my attention, I'm hooked.
    This is my first visit to your blog, but I'll be back. And thanks for stopping by mine.
    Donna V.

  2. Wow! I love the covers of those books!

    I definitely do judge a book by its cover, I'm ashamed to say. Sad but true.

  3. the covers are beautiful,
    but before I buy it, I may need to scan the content...

    one's physical appearance is important at first, but inner beauty is critical in the long run, agree?

    I focus more on a books' content.

  4. Congratulations!! It's fabulous that you've got a story in that amazing anthology! Oh I always go by the book cover - it's like how I go choosing wines - I haven't a clue but if the label is gorgeous, I'm having it! LOL!

    Definitely - the first things that draws me in when I browse in a book shop are the font and the book cover!

    Take care and Well Done!!!!!

  5. Am I odd? The second photo (which I assume is the back) tells me I'd enjoy this, but the top photo puts me off because of the gasmask. I think a psychologist would have a field day with me.

    However, since I know you're in it I'd ignore front AND back and read it anyway.

  6. It seems I'm not the only one to judge a book by its cover! Jingle made a valid point though, we should try to focus more on the content.

    AJ - You're not odd. Each of us probably has certain images that would put us off buying a book. Anything with swords and dragons, and I'm running in the other direction! I find dragons creepy.

  7. Ah well. If it's got a dragon on it I'll buy it without question! :)

    I've been giving this more thought and there's a post on my blog now.


  8. Not all dragons are creepy. We've just had a bad press because of that St George bloke. I'm friendly!

  9. AJ - I'm popping over to your blog post now.

    Eldritch - I don't find you creepy. You are sweet and cuddly looking!

  10. Wow, It's a great cover, I do pick books by their covers quite often, I recently bought one for my mum because it had ballroom dancers on the front, which she loves. She later told me, it was rather gritty. Oops! She liked it anyway I think, she reads a lot of Catherine cookson and their pretty gritty too when you think about it!
    Congratulations on you story!

  11. Hello Ellie,
    As i just read your entire blog my comment may be rather lengthy :)
    Ok first off i would just like to say how lovely it is to meet a writer who seems to go through some very similar things even though we grew up differently, live in completely different places, and are different ages. It is rather refreshing.
    Next i would like to say i also prefer to write in the first person and yesterday was determined to write in 3rd and it took me awhile just to remember how to do it.
    Lastly, for buying books cover art is important though im not sure why. but for right now at least for submitting the covers don't matter though with Static Movement the covers are usually awesome anyway, but mainly its because im new so i'll take anything i can get. :)
    <3 always,

  12. penandpaints - I've never read any Catherine Cookson, but from their back cover blurb I would also say they are gritty.

    Kelly - hi! I do find it amazing that the same universal writing issues seem to apply to ALL writers. In a funny way it helps to motivate me, because it reminds me that even Stephen King and J K Rowling must have had the same questions when they started out.

  13. Guilty! The cover does draw me in, then the blurb. I do often wonder how much input the authors have. I think I always assumed the publisher relies on marketing to decide.


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