I know, I know, don’t judge a book by its cover. Read the blurb. Form an educated opinion. You know what? There’s just too little time in a day and too many books on the market for me to read the blurb of every book in a genre that I’m interested in.
Setting aside book reviews, recommended reads from friends, or other ways that books end up on my to-read list, covers and titles are a phenomenal way to catch my attention as a reader. And so, I try to do this as a writer with my titles and vision for my future book covers.
Covers are created to elicit emotions in us, like any marketing tactic, to make us pick up the book to learn more. Each of us are different, obviously, which is why it must be horrendously difficult to land on a cover that will appeal to “your readers” putting them in a group. Hint – they’re not all gonna like it. I am a regular reader of chick lit, but that’s not to say I like most of the covers. Pastels and shoes and all of that, it’s not my bag and I definitely don’t want to read in public with those covers. Smart, witty, bright and fun? I can handle that.
Here are some examples of books covers that I love.
Now, I’m a bit of a typography geek, so if you can do a title just in words, like Tracy Bloom and Rosie Blake, I LOVE it. Others I find witty, like Hillary Grossman’s Dangled Carat (both in title and in cover). Then there are covers where it doesn’t matter that I read the book over ten years ago, I will forever remember what it looks like. This book, for me, is The Time Traveler’s Wife. It’s iconic. To Kill a Mockingbird is another one. I think every child who received the pale purple paperback book on their desk knows what I’m talking about.
Titles. What’s in a title? Um, a whole hell of a lot. It needs to stand out, be different, grab attention. Here are a few titles that have grabbed my attention.
- No-one Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday – Tracy Bloom
- Rules of Civility – Amor Towles
- The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
- Sheldon Harris Came Home Dead – Mahrie Glab
- The Spectacular Now – Tim Tharp
Then there are titles that don’t grab your attention. That are bland, blah, and I couldn’t possibly be enticed to pick up the book to find out more, unless someone personally promised me a good read. I will not share some of the titles that made me yawn – I’m sure you have your own list, or maybe you can’t remember it.
What do you think? Do these elements really matter? Are you judgmental (say I’m not alone!)?