Lovers’ Musings on Book Covers

Posted March 20, 2015 by Karen in Musings / 2 Comments

An open letter to authors and publishers.


All of us here at Literati are ravenous readers.  We like to review books and we love telling people about books.  Look around you can see this is  a fabulous book blog.  You can find everything you need to know about books here, in fact  we do a wonderful job in providing brilliant reviews and book insight.  (Yes this would be a little of tooting our own horns)  Okay enough about us,  we want to talk about you, both of you: the authors and the publishers of the world.  Since we read a lot, combined we buy a lot of books.  We Lovers have seen an increasing trend in new covers being changed on already established/published books/series.  Some of us  have actually ended up buying some of these books again, because both authors and publishers have relaunched books/series with the new covers.   Yes, it is our own fault for buying the books again, but when we see a new book, by an author we love, with a cover we don’t recognize in our Amazon recommendation we one click it. (It should be noted that we collectively have one clickitis) The book might not be read right away, it may sit in a ‘to be read pile’ (note this is not a real pile, but an imaginary virtual one), then when we do crack it open (again virtually as ebooks have no spines), and discover it is a book that is already owned and read, you can hear the ARGH all over the world. (As we Lovers live around the world and we have strong lungs)  What the heck, really you had to change the cover, thinking this was going to spark renewed interest in the book?  Well obviously it did, as it was one clicked. Covers change a lot in the Indie author world and even in the bigger publishing world.  Honestly the revolving covers don’t make us want to read the book. Most the time we will ask each other, what was wrong with the first cover?   If you the author or publisher are basing sales on your covers, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Some covers are changed because Amazon has tagged it as ‘adult’ and put filters on it in their search engine. Changing your cover for a reason like a search engine filter, is completely understandable.

On another note, using a film or movie graphic, breaking so many copyright laws, you may be in jail reading this. Don’t put a movie poster as your book cover, it is tacky and illegal!

Yes, we do realize most covers now come from photo stock libraries, but even if you use the same photo as a popular book, don’t try to clone the cover of the other book.  Again tacky.  You need your cover to represent you and your book. Don’t start off on the wrong foot in the book world.

If you aren’t sure about your cover, ask someone.  Okay, let us clarify that; ask someone honest, who is willing to give their real opinion, not just I LOVE IT!

There is a reason for that old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. I’ve never bought a book based on the cover alone and frankly, if I am reading or reviewing a book and it doesn’t meet my expectations, a glitzy cover won’t change my opinion.

The market is flooded with new authors, from both the Indie author world and the mainstream publishing world, and standing out is hard.   Our advice which we assume you all will ignore, as it is unsolicited, is pick a cover, love your  cover, but don’t change your cover.  Stay with the cover that brought you.  Take the time to get the cover you really want.  Focus your resources on writing a good synopsis that makes me want to read your book.  Covers are eye candy, remember that.

Your fans are loyal to you, the author.  When you release a book, the first ones to purchase it are your faithful and loyal followers.  Then, by word of mouth from your book loving fans, others buy it and join them in worshiping every syllable you write.  A good cover is a plus.  A great cover, even better, but these days your reputation as a writer is what sells your books.  I know readers who buy books from certain authors “blind”.  By blind I mean they don’t even read the synopsis.  They are so in love with your characters, they trust that they will also love a new addition to that specific series or even better, a new one.  From experience, I’ve read books with covers that were nothing special, until I read them.  The next thing you know, that same book is re-released with a different cover and it kind of ruins the connection for me.  It doesn’t rekindle a flame or make new memories.  Truthfully, the covers don’t sell your books, as I mentioned before, old faithfuls do.  Oh. . .and a hell of a synopsis or “blurb” for the less brave who can’t go into your book “blind” helps too.

Book covers, while some entice, others don’t hold that eye catching appeal.  You know the one that makes you want to stop and see who the author is and what the book is about.

Take 50 Shades of Grey.  The cover held absolutely no appeal what so ever but the story … well that could be another post in itself.  I bought 50 after having many tell me I had to read it.  I had no idea what the story was about I just bought it and started reading. I am thrilled that I did.  The covers though … still not my favorite but the books, well, let’s just say I really loved them.

That being said, it is a cover that will catch my eye and make me want to know more.  If it is an author I enjoy, I couldn’t care less what the cover looks like.  I am going to buy the book.  I don’t have to know what the story is about, I don’t need a pretty picture, it is the author’s name and the value I put on their writing that leads me to buy the book.

I will admit, there have been times I have bought a book based on cover alone. For the most part I have been lucky to discover not only new authors but some fantastic writing as well.

Authors who re-release with new covers often make me wonder why.  I understand trying to gain new readers.  I understand content violation. I will have to side with my fellow Lovers here and ask why an author would update a picture when the content of the book stays the same.  What is beautiful to one may not appeal to another and vice versa.  It makes me wonder how much value is placed on the photographs used on book covers.

Book sales in my opinion should be based on what is contained between the covers.  The words, the emotions and the story.  I would gladly take a well written story over a beautiful picture any day.

I’m guilty of judging a book by the cover UNLESS I’ve heard or seen rave reviews about the book.  Just this past weekend I was shown a cover of an author’s second book, and we’ve done work with this author previously.  (In the past I’ve been told I do not have a poker face.)  Later that day the author’s husband came up to me and asked why I had made “a face” about the book cover, and I had no intentions of lying.  The cover seriously looked like the cover for a children’s Halloween book as it was all “cartoony.”  I had absolutely no idea what the book was even about. What would you think skimming through contemporary romance books and seeing a Halloween cover?  The cover of the author’s first book was beautiful.  But great news, the husband did tell me they would be revising the cover of the second book because they want it to sell.  🙂

Also, blurbs on the front of a book from best selling author does not entice me to buy a book anymore than had it not been there.



Thank you the Lovers of Literati



2 responses to “Lovers’ Musings on Book Covers

  1. Joanna

    I used to judge a book by its cover…but I have missed out on a lot of good books. I have learned that indie authors just can’t afford covers a lot of the time. So I have started reading the blurbs and reviews more.
    So now I read about books that everyone is “buzzing” about. It wouldn’t wven have to have a cover…as long as what was inside was good…I a, fine with that.

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