Thursday, February 26, 2015

Eve Gaddy: A Cover Affair

I've been thinking about covers lately. I recently posted a picture of my least favorite cover ever, for one of my own books. I love the book but the cover . . . well, it sucks. I gave away the book on my Facebook author page and in the picture I covered it up with SWAG. (There are puppies. I wish the puppies were the only thing on it.)

I mentioned that the cover sucked, which is why I buried it, and one person said, "Oh, I bet it's not that bad." When I posted it, she had to agree. Yes, it was *that* bad. Really, really awful. Really. Awful. For the curious, it's A Marriage Made in Texas--it's a Harlequin cover. The cover won't change until they give me back the rights.:(

My question is, how much does the cover affect your perception of the book? Would you buy or not buy a book based solely on the cover? I know what conventional wisdom says and I agree for the most part. I have to say I think covers are important. But does a bad cover doom a book?

I just asked my daughter, son-in-law, and husband their take on this topic. After they finished groaning, (here she goes again) they answered. My husband Bob said everybody judges by appearances. He says that of course people judge a book by its cover.

My daughter Diana said that if she didn't know the author or know of the author, as in the book was recommended to her, she would not read a book with an ugly cover. (Bearing in mind liking or disliking the book cover is subjective.) I said, "Even though you know the author doesn't always have control over the cover?" She said yes, even then. She says if she knows nothing about the author the cover and blurb are all she has to go on.
My son-in-law Russell said most people don't realize the author has no control over the cover. (With self-publishing, the author does have control, but with other publishers she often does not.) Russell also said that with ebooks it isn't important to him because he doesn't look anymore. I didn't manage to ask my son, Chris, what his opinion was. Or my 94 year old father-in-law. I'll ask them my next question, but that's for another blog.

Then I asked my four-year-old twin granddaughters. I showed them two of my book covers and one said she would read the ugly one and the other said she wouldn't. But they both said they'd read the pretty one. My daughter said they're four and don't understand theoretical, but my grandchildren are brilliant so I think they do.:) However, I think they're still a bit young to be as influenced by the cover as adults or teenagers are.

I've been known to buy a book with an ugly cover. Although when I do it's usually because I've heard of the book, or read the author and don't care about the cover.

I have another question. Does it jerk you out of the story for the cover to be nothing like what you imagined? Or do you just ignore it? How much does it affect your enjoyment of the book if say, the hero in the book is a clean-shaven blond but the man on the cover is a dark haired man with three days of stubble?
Or what if the cover implies a dark, suspense type book but when you read the book it's a light-hearted romance with no suspense?

I'm very fortunate in my current publishers, Bell Bridge Books and Tule Publishing. They understand the importance of the cover and the author has a lot of input. I am now eagerly awaiting a new book cover from each.

Last Shot is published by Bell Bridge Books and should be out any time now. Last Shot is a romantic suspense with a very sexy hero who I've wanted to write since he first walked onto the page in my book Just One Night. Nick Sheridan is the brother of Alex Sheridan, heroine of Just One Night. I'm dying to see what Debra Dixon comes up with for my cover.

I'm guest blogging today for the wonderful Lee Hyat, who also happens to be hard at work on a cover for a new series from the marvelous Katherine Garbera and me from Tule Publishing, Texas Born, Whiskey River. The first story, written by both of us, is Where There's a Will and it should be out some time in May. We are very excited about our new series. Can't wait for the covers!

Do you buy a book for its cover? Yes, no, sometimes? Which one best describes you?  I'm giving away an ebook of Sing Me Back Home to one commenter today. I love this coverJ

***Eve's winner is Erin!  Please email with your mailing details!***


erin said...

I've been known to buy a book due to an awesome cover :) luckily I've only been disappointed once or twice. lol... a lot of questions! Ummm... I don't' completely base my physical or ebook buying on the cover, but it can make a difference on whether or not I click on the blurb. Like anything in marketing, it's gotta stand out. And no... the cover has never ruined a story for me. I sometimes will laugh at the renditions of the characters if they are over the top but it doesn't matter to me if they don't look how I imagine.

Martha Lawson said...

Well, not really, but it is the cover that catches the eye first!! if it has a "cartoony" cover on it, I probably won't pick it up, unless it is a favorite author. After looking at the cover then I read the back blurb to see more what the book is about. I don't like it when the covers don't match the characters description, but it doesn't ruin it for me.

Arlene said...

Sometimes I'll be drawn to a book because of its cover, but if the blurb doesn't draw me in, I'll pass. I enjoy romance but I have to say that I really don't care for the covers that category romane books use. I wish the publishers would change them, but what the heck do I know! That said, I've enjoyed many books with bad covers☺.

Eve Gaddy said...

I agree with you, Erin. I do think it plays a part in whether I pick it up. Or click on it.:)

Eve Gaddy said...

Martha, I'm not big on cartoony covers, either, but a lot of people must like them.

Good to know it doesn't ruin the book if the cover doesn't match.:)

Eve Gaddy said...

Good to know, Arlene. To me category covers are like anything else. Some I like and some I don't. But they do seem similar sometimes.

dstoutholcomb said...

sometimes I buy it for the cover, sometimes for the blurb on the back, but mostly because I know the author's work or it was recommended


Eve Gaddy said...

Thanks for commenting, Denise. I buy mostly by author too.

Laurie G said...

I read the back blurb. If it interests me I'll buy the book, ugly cover or not. I do prefer people on the cover or pretty real scenes. I don't like inanimate objects or animals.

I'm irritated when covers don't match the physical characteristics of the hero and heroine. I think the people who make the covers have a description supplied by the author to follow.

I feel that the author should be able to choose the cover from two final selections.

Eve Gaddy said...

Thanks for commenting, Laurie. It irritates authors when the covers don't match our descriptions. We send in a detailed description and sometimes it matches and sometimes not. Depends on the publisher, but I've never been offered a choice between two.

Belle Books and Tule are smaller and allow the author a lot of input. Harlequin is huge and it's another matter. One time they put a cover on a book set at the TX coast and it looked like a lake in Ontario. But at least it was pretty.:)

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

I think that the cover only bothers me when there is a marked difference in a descriptive appearance... ie characters are blond and cover shows brunette..

Carol L. said...

There have been many book covers that dtew me to a book but no matter how gorgeous or exciting it looks if the back blurb doesn't grab me I on't buy it. The same with ugly covers. I've been surprised when I read the blurb & ended up buying it. If it's an Author I read and enjoy I don't care what the cover looks like I'm buying it. :)
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

Eve Gaddy said...

Thanks for commenting. The marked difference bothers me too.:)

Eve Gaddy said...

Thanks for commenting, Carol. If it's an author I love to read, I will buy it regardless. Like you, I don't pay attention to the cover.