I Judge Covers. I Judge Titles. So Sue Me.

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.

I Judge Covers

I LOVE this cover… but as the reader does my opinion actually matter?

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.

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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!)?

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10 Responses to I Judge Covers. I Judge Titles. So Sue Me.

  1. ddominikwickles February 28, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

    I like covers that are bright and colorful. Hate those ones all dark and dreary.

  2. Lynette Noni February 28, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

    As much as I wish it wasn’t true, I definitely judge a book by its cover. It’s not to the point that I won’t buy a book if it doesn’t have a good cover, but more that I WILL buy an unplanned-on-buying book if a cover grasps my attention. What can I say? I like pretty things!

    • vscot848 February 28, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

      Lynette, I totally agree. A great cover can induce spending. My wallet has suffered over the years. I’ve just visited your blog. Congrats on your publishing contract! You must be over the moon.

      • Lynette Noni February 28, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

        Thank you so much! I really am flying on Cloud Nine right now, that’s for sure! (And I definitely have the same predicament with my wallet too!)

  3. KMcWriter March 6, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

    I love Rules of Civility — the title intrigued me and the content was wonderful, too. I’d like to name my novel, when it’s ready, in a similar vein.

    I have not read The Spectacular Now, but because of the super-fly title, I’m adding it to my list.

    We’re on similar pages (ha!) with titles that grab us.

  4. hilary March 8, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    you totally made my day and put a smile on my face! I am with you…. I totally judge a book by it’s cover, and often don’t read the blurb if the cover doesn’t appeal to me…

    • vscot848 March 8, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

      Then it doesn’t surprise me at all that you got a great cover artist – you personally knew the value in it!

  5. samulraney August 15, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    I recently said to someone, “The cover doesn’t necessarily have to be gripping and fabulous (though that certainly doesn’t hurt), but it can’t send the potential reader running for the hills.” Clean, interesting, and not looking like you had your second cousin who knows a little bit about Photoshop slap it together. 😉

  6. Amanda February 10, 2015 at 3:38 am #

    Yes! Covers and titles matter. I love minimalist covers. I like that Rosie Blake cover.

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  1. Pub 101: From Cover to Cover | Girl Tries Life - August 15, 2014

    […] been fascinated by covers for a long time. One of my most popular blog posts to date has been I Judge Covers. I Judge Titles. So Sue Me. So… I’m guessing that you’re all interested in the process […]

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