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A prompt! (NaBlo: Day 22)

November 22, 2013

Back before BlogHer owned it (or hosted it, whatever), I used to officially sign up for NaBloPoMo and all that.  But BlogHer annoys me–I’m annoyed that they’re using a female-specific site, I don’t like how it’s set up, I miss the old stuff.  (I’m a curmudgeon.)  And now every day I get an emailed prompt, usually something completely worthless to me, like “What’s your favorite outfit?  Bonus points for posting a picture of yourself in that outfit!”  Or “Who was your first friend?”  To me, these are obviously from a site called BlogHer.  And who gives points?  I know it’s just a flippant way of saying “Hey, cool extra” or whatever, but it’s just a stupid prompt.

Today’s is “How important are book covers in getting you to read a book?” and at least I can write about that.

The answer is, of course, they’re not.  Book covers are often misleading.  Blurbs often contain pivotal plot points and other various spoilers.  Book covers also seem to follow trends, so even if your book was about a woman dealing with the loss of her family, it still would’ve had a skinny cartoon drawn on it, with lots of pink, a few years ago, and even if it’s about space aliens, it probably has a dark cover with a stream of smoke or a flower nowadays.

Self-published covers at the worst, though.  They’re full of awkward Photoshops of stock photos from freebie sites, so you see the same faces over and over again on free e-books.  Or they have that shiny flatness to them that says “I can’t afford a nice cover.”  Ugly and off-putting.

The problem with this is that I rarely ever just pick up a book based on its cover anymore, because I know exactly how covers work and how poorly they’re designed and how deviously they’re marketed.  The only time this doesn’t come into play is with picture books.

Jennifer Crusie has a lot to say about her covers and the process that goes into choosing them (but keep in mind, she’s an NYT bestselling author; she probably has about a freakton of more say than most):

http://www.arghink.com/2011/01/25/trade-cover-for-the-cinderella-deal/

http://www.arghink.com/2010/08/16/lithuanian-cover-quiz/

http://www.arghink.com/2010/05/26/maybe-this-time-the-cover/

http://www.arghink.com/2010/04/08/trade-paperback-reissues-the-covers/

http://www.arghink.com/2007/06/25/covers-the-unfortunate-miss-fortunes/

http://www.arghink.com/2007/07/03/covers-dont-look-down/

There are more–I like the Wild Ride one but it isn’t working for me–and I think once she talked more about the original process of it, as a newer author, but you can dig for those yourself. 😛

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Jillian permalink
    November 22, 2013 2:19 pm

    I totally judge books by their covers. If I know the author is someone I like, I’ll ignore it and go to the description to see if I want the book. But if I’m just browsing through a bookstore, I notice covers. Except I think I’m opposite of what publishing companies are looking for. If I see a “urban fantasy” cover with a tough chick in skin-tight clothing looking over her shoulder, I skip right over it, that totally turns me off the book.

    • bookslide permalink*
      November 24, 2013 11:03 am

      We’re in such an unimaginative cover phase, though, I can’t imagine you wanting to pick up ANYTHING. It’s all girl-in-dress, girlface, girl-in-skintight-clothes, and black cover with one item on it. Then there’s the minimalism of adult literature right now. Ready Player One’s new paperback cover, with the stacks, is far better than anything else I’ve seen for it. If I hadn’t read a review, I never would’ve picked it up.

  2. Jillian permalink
    November 24, 2013 11:16 pm

    True. I haven’t bought a book in AGES. The last one I bought was by Sarah Vowell and the only reason I bought it was because it was Sarah Vowell and it was on clearance sale. I haven’t been reading much lately though so I haven’t been going to bookstores. And I get all of my book rec’s online and then I get them from the library so the cover doesn’t influence me.

    • bookslide permalink*
      November 25, 2013 5:51 pm

      Ha, that’s one of the last ones I bought too. Wordy Shipmates?

      I haven’t put books on hold for you in forever. 😦

      • Jillian permalink
        November 25, 2013 7:31 pm

        Unfamiliar Fishes. I read Wordy Shipmates though, got it from the library.

        I don’t have any room to reserve books. I keep seeing ones I like and putting them on hold but I haven’t been reading enough lately so I just keep them suspended. I’ve even started an Amazon wishlist just to put on books that I want to take out from the library!! Just email me them and I’ll add them to the list 🙂

  3. bookslide permalink*
    November 26, 2013 2:40 pm

    Well, if you’re reading here, you’re seeing everything I read and then whatever. Why Amazon? Goodreads is so much better for stuff like that.

    • Jillian permalink
      November 26, 2013 5:54 pm

      Because I already have a wishlist on Amazon. Plus if I can find it on Amazon.ca, then I know I can buy it if I should like it.

      • bookslide permalink*
        November 27, 2013 10:12 pm

        True nuff. I don’t buy anything anymore so I don’t even think of that.

  4. get smart permalink
    November 27, 2013 2:17 pm

    Sahar Delijani Sahar Delijani talks about her first book, Children of the Jacaranda Tree, set in post-Revolutionary Iran that gives voice to the men, women, and children who won a war only to find their lives–and those of their descendants—imperiled by its aftermath.

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