9 Responses

  1. heath0043
    heath0043 at |

    Very interesting post. I admit I am drawn to a book by it’s cover. I always hope the cover represents what the book is about. That doesn’t always happen, but at least I was drawn to the book because of the cover. If the book is part of a series I don’t mind the same face on the cover. If the book has nothing to do with another that I have read, I sometimes have a hard time relating to the character because I am think of the character in another book because of the picture on the cover. I am not an author just a avid reader, but I now have a little insight about how deciding on a cover can be a problem for the author.

  2. suze294
    suze294 at |

    Thanks for the interesting insights Kaje.
    Whilst a cover may entice me to look at a blurb, it alone will not buy me a story. And whilst I may not agree that a cover model matches my image, they wont put me off a story – the words will sell me that tale!

  3. Geraldine
    Geraldine at |

    I like faces on my guys, I have to say, but to be honest, your blurb and brilliant writing keep me reading, not the covers. I loved the model for Tony, but Mac, I always imagined him differently so whilst I love to know the author’s idea of their main characters I have no difficulty substituting my image…quite often I have googled my view of your description (or my other favourites’ descriptions) then shop together. Sad but true. Anyway, your characters are rich, your stories wonderful, and I’m always ready for more.

  4. darkeidolons
    darkeidolons at |

    Covers are such strange things! I’ve long had conflicting feelings about them. As a reader, I try and ignore them. The saying that you can’t judge a book by its cover isn’t around for no reason. Yet, in the days when there was no internet and we had to glance at tons of paperbacks in stands, the cover really was there for marketing purposes. “Hey! I’m a Romance, and a bodice-ripper with that kind of pose, and a historical with this kind of costume! Look at me! Pick me up and read the blurb on the back and buy me!”

    I’ve long learned to ignore covers. The attractive covers might not contain the kind of story I want to read. The boring or ugly covers might be on some of my favorite reads. I really don’t see how a reader can really bother to look too closely at a cover and really associate it with anything but a kind of design to quickly identify a book quickly.

    In these days of shopping online, I’m more easily able to sort of abstract covers in this way, since the cover images are so much smaller. I’ll be attracted, initially, to certain covers, as everyone is… Yes, it will make me take a look, as it is meant to do. But what matters is the author and maybe the title, but the blurb, still… and number of reviews and stars. Those latter things are what matter, not the cover. So it’s still a marketing thing, a bit (look here! this is the kind of book I am! check it out!), and a sort of visual/design/recognition thing (this is THAT book!). I’ve trained myself to disassociate the characters and image from the actual story and characters, though.

    It’s rather interesting in my case because I’m an illustrator, long interested in cover art (although I haven’t done many covers, I’ve mostly worked in games). I do have an idea of what goes on with covers. I know everyone tries to match the characters on the covers with the story to some degree. But we know that a single image can’t really distill everything that’s in the story into it–it has to be what it is–an icon of sorts, something that stands for the story when people are scrolling quickly through things online. All the while pretending to be representations of the characters and a scene from the story.

    Weirdly, even when I TRY to make the characters look like the characters on a cover–I mean, when I’m actually creating the cover myself!… I still don’t really see them that way when I’m reading. I guess I have a Right/Left Brained dichotomy that is naturally divided already in many respects. But I realize everyone is different.

    So I appreciate a good cover, and do like having a good cover on books I read… but it never gets in the way of what I read. I don’t hold a bad cover against a book, I will check books out with good or bad covers to see if I want to read them, and I don’t associate the cover with the story in any specific way. This has all worked well for me for some 50 years of reading.

  5. 16forward
    16forward at |

    The story is what sells me on a book…not the cover… but it drives me crazy when the character descriptions don’t match the cover! I’m not sure what that says about me…other than the artist,illustrator or photographer should have read the book first before deciding on the cover, or the author didn’t give the artist/illustrator/photographer enough of a description to make the tie-in work.

    Some of the best books I’ve ever read haven’t had any characters on them at all, or just a silhouette, such as N.R. Walker’s ‘Spencer Cohen’ series. That’s a safe way to go unless you have readers who need the visual.

    Since I usually buy books by authors I love, I can honestly say in that case the cover doesn’t matter to me at all. But if an author is an unknown, a cover will catch my attention and I’ll read the blurb, and the reviews it’s received.

  6. Fi Kanera
    Fi Kanera at |

    Thankyou, Kaje, I’ve been making a collection of book covers with the young couple on ‘The Family We Make’, & it doesn’t detract at all from my reading pleasure. A pet hate is two separate faces with noticeably different lighting collaged together; fortunately, not so noticeable on the Kobo’s black & white screen as on a hard copy! Generally, I prefer graphic, rather than photographed, covers, but I’ve read that people covers sell better, so I must be in the minority.


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