Monday, October 5, 2009

"I don't even look at the cover"

The title of this post is what my oldest daughter said to me when I told her I couldn't wait to see a cover for my upcoming book "Body Rush", which comes out June next year. I personally LOVE getting new covers. It's a real thrill to see that image, it makes it real.

But when Kati said she doesn't care what's on a cover, it's the blurb that counts, it got me to thinking. Do you think this is a new generation thing? I mean, teenagers are all about gadgets. Cell phones and iPods. I'm pretty sure a lot of the books they read is based partly on the fact that their friend recommended it. When I asked her 'doesn't an appealing cover make you want to pick up the book and find out what it's about?' she sort of shrugged and said, 'Not really. It could be plain as dirt with only the title and the author's name and it would be fine with me.'

I had to stop and think back over the many MANY books I've read and I can honestly say there weren't that many that had plain covers. A few of Nora Roberts, a few Sandra Browns. But those were authors I bought because they were auto-buys, so in those cases the covers mattered little. Most of the authors I read these days have covers that made me want to know more. In fact, one of my newest favorite authors (who shall not be named) had such a horrid cover that it took one of reader friends to practically shove the book at me before I would even read it. She swore I'd love it. Finally, even though I hated the cover, I read the darn thing. Of course, I loved it!

So, I'm not like my daughter, I guess. Seems I AM a cover snob. That's not a good thing either. LOL Maybe it's because I like art in general. I don't know. But it's a sad, sad day to realize I'm not quite as open-minded as my kid.

Thankfully, this old dog CAN learn new tricks. From this day forward I vow to be a bit less picky. I'm going to make it a new rule for myself. Right underneath 'eat less chocolate' I'll be sure to read at least one book a week that has a plain/ugly/strange/ cover.

After all, it's always the unremarkable that ends up being...remarkable. :)


Anonymous said...

LOL it's so weird that you just brought this up. I was on another site the other day discussing covers via facebook. They're biggest comlaint is that suddenly even the old classics are getting "Twilightish" cover revamps. I've always been kind of a cover snob myself I guess so I started going to the bookstore and kindle store and reading through some blurbs that have shoddy cover work. Shame on me for not giving some of them a chance. But I do think it's human nature--you see something pretty, you pick it up--lol. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to stop grabbing the pretty ones off the shelves first, but like you, I am trying to "dirty" up my shelves lol.

Watery Tart said...

I think I am MORE influenced by an intriguing title and maybe a blurb on the front. I've had covers that turned me OFF though--some things on the cover annoy me, and I generally won't pick the thing up to even find out.

I'm willing to bet my daughter would disagree with yours. She is very visual (wants to be a photo-journalist at age 14). Though she does get most of her reading selections from friend recommendations, and the last series had BORING covers (Crank is the name coming to mind).

As a hopeful writer though? I will be STOKED to see a cover. As you said, it makes it real.

Anne Rainey said...

Amanda--Exactly how I felt when Kati said that to me. I thought, geez, how rude of me! Wonder how many good books I missed because of my attitude...hmm

Watery--My daughter is very into art too. She's gotten really good at using photoshop and wants to someday create book covers. But, she still has that 'If it sounds good, I'll read it' attitude, which is awesome. And good luck on your own writing! :)

Kelley Nyrae said...

An intruiguing title will make me pick up a book but I have to admit, if I don't know the author, its the cover that will first draw my attention to a new book. After that I need a strong blurb.

RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Thanks for the thoughtful fun post.
Covers do affect me.
If it is intriguing I'll pick a book up.
Of course, if it is a Michael Whelan cover I'll buy it immediately.
Of course the blurbs make a difference if I'll buy it or not.
And the first page is the clincher.
All the best,
PS - Your daughter is amazing!

Anne Rainey said...

Kelley--What really bites is when you see a great cover, a pretty good blurb and buy the book...only to find out it's total crap. LOL

Anne Rainey said...

RK--Ah,that VERY important first page. I hear you there! And thanks for the compliments on my daughter. :)

Lady Jane said...

I'm fifty fifty If I like the cover I'll read the blurb. But the blurb or first couple line has to catch my interest or I don't bother.

Anne Rainey said...

Lady Jane--These days I find myself checking the spine, too, to see which genre the book falls under. You can't always tell by the cover anymore, which is frustrating.

Valerie T. said...

As a cover artist, this makes me sad. I know the book is about the author, but the cover is like wrapping paper on a gift. You don't want a plain brown wrapper do you? You want something that shows that the publisher and cover artist gave it some thought and effort. The end result is the same - the story is what's important - but the packaging should matter to a certain extent.

My two cents worth...


Anne Rainey said...

Valerie--You make a very good point!

As a mother, I'm glad Kati can see past the surface of things. Her statement tells me she does NOT make decisions based on outward appearences.

As an author, I love a good cover! (as you well know) :-D

Laurann Dohner said...

I'm so guilty of covers catching my eye. LOL. I will glance at the ones displayed and I always go for the eyecandy first! LOL. That being the hot male figures with some fleshy body revealed. After that I tend to look at the 'dark' covers. Kind of Gothic looking ones. I'm afraid unless I'm looking for an author... I don't go for the ones with dull covers.

Anne Rainey said...

Laurann--I love a hunk on a cover. This one always gets me!

Molly Daniels said...

Okay; comment disappeared again:(

Since my favorite publisher uses the same covers for many titles, I've stopped looking at the ones for e-books, except on release day and after purchase. I usually depend on the blurb/excerpt to decide which to buy. And yes, I've been disappointed there too:)

Print, however, is the opposite. I'll pick it up if the cover catches my eye and read the back.

Kayla said...

I'm 17 years old. My cousin, is also 17 (we're a month apart), and we both are the same way about book covers: We are aviad romance readers that pick up books because the covers intrigue us. I've picked up other books with less apealing covers, but it's because someone has told me out how good the story was. But, when I go book shopping, I pick up books with covers that catch my eye. I love book covers! It's like the soul of the book.. :) So, it's not this younger generation not caring about book covers, because I, myself, and my cousin, love covers!

Anne Rainey said...

Kayla--Thanks for sharing that with us! I'm seeing that cover art is an individual thing. For instance, I never have cared much for cartoony type covers, but some authors prefer them.

Regina Carlysle said...

I always look at the cover first. It's the first thing I notice but I never buy a book just because of it. I got burned by doing that years ago. Saw this cover that was soooo beautiful, it was like a work of art and I just knew the book would be awesome. It wasn't. Didn't even finish it. So, my take is, the cover makes me stop and look and then the blurb reels me in.

Anne Rainey said...

Regina--what I hate is when the cover is smokin' hot, but the story isn't. The feel of the cover should match the story, imo.