Thursday, April 04, 2013

Book Girls Don't Cry: Judging a Book by its Cover

Inspired by Book Buzzers, Book Girls Don't Cry is a weekly feature where we each discuss/vent/advise on the chosen weekly bookish topic. Don't miss Jenni on Mondays, and Amy on Saturdays:

Making a Good First Impression!

You've all heard that making a good first impression is important, right? During job interviews, meeting the parents, etc. And then you've also heard to not judge a book by its cover, no? Don't you find both are kind of contradicting? A book cover is the first impression we get of a book, why shouldn't we judge one by what we first see? At least to some extent. Sure there are tons of great books out there with mediocre covers at best, like so (and yes some of these were changed thank goodness):

And there are meh to awful books that have gorgeous covers (obv. this is my opinion based on my reading experience with these novels):

but between you and me, if I see a book that I have never heard of and the cover is not attractive to me, I will likely pass right by it without even taking a second look. I'm sure we all do this even if some don't realize it when browsing at book stores. Is it the ugly covers that stop your browsing and makes you think "Well maybe this is a hidden gem!". Unlikely. So while there are some great books hidden under ugliness, it will take some recommendations for me to pick it up.

Did you know that authors don't have a say in their book covers when their book is bought by a publisher? Some publishers are more lenient on this and will work with the author until they're satisfied, but not all. This leads me to self publishing. Self published authors have to go ahead and find their own cover artist. They have every say in their book covers and in the end, they have to look at their final cover and go, YES! This is my book! Consequently, the book cover does reflect, at least a little, what we should expect from the quality of the book as whole--from the effort the author has put into it. Imagine writing a book for months, even years, in the end, after all that work, you don't cheapen out on your book's cover, do you? You want it to reflect your hard work. You go and you find a great cover designer to do it justice. If an author doesn't put the effort in making their cover attractive to its potential readers--a cover that will attract the right readers--then I will likely not put the effort into reading it. This might come off as a little book cover whorish, I realize, but when I get a review request from an author, the book cover will be the first thing I see, and it will be the deciding factor for if I even give the request a chance, or if I add it into the "never to be seen again" pile.

I'm a visual person, and what I think when I see these is: Honestly, Is this the best that they could do?

Some of it is psychological, too. We're all attracted to different types of people. You would not have married your husband if you didn't find him attractive, right? A personality can change how you see their looks, sure, same as how an ugly cover can become great once you read the book, love it, and see the covers meaning. On the other hand, however, unless it has already high praise, when I pick up a book that has a cover that really doesn't do it for me, I go in unmotivated, almost expecting to dislike what's inside of it. Like arriving on a blind date with someone that looks to be really not your type. While some will preach that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, I say the cover exists for a reason.

Do YOU judge a book by its cover?
Also, don't forget to leave suggestions for future topics you'd like to see! :)

You know you love me!
Xoxo, Book Girl!