They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I completely agree with that statement. That saying especially applies in my life to book covers, since I’m both an avid reader and an aspiring writer.
Book covers can mean the difference between having your book picked up by a curious reader and being passed by unnoticed. The truth of the matter is, people are extremely superficial. Just think about it. Celebrities are generally above-average in looks; magazines and TV shows feature homes, gardens, and places that are exceptionally beautiful; the prettiest people tend to win awards in pageants and other contests. That’s just how life works. People like things that are aesthetically pleasing. Now, apply this to book covers.
Take a look at some book covers I found while searching the internet, and see if you can figure out which ones would most likely be grabbed off a bookshelf.
If you said that the first two were aesthetically pleasing and that the second two would be bypassed, congratulations! You’re blind. Go to an eye doctor, like now.
I don’t even think I need to explain why the first two aren’t attractive and the second two are. I would hope that you can see for yourself what works and what doesn’t on a cover. Here are some more examples of ugly ones, just because they made me laugh.
Now, let me add in here that I in no way, shape, or form think that these books are crappy. In fact, I’ve only read one of them (Harry Potter). Chances are, there’s some brilliant material behind the hideous cover. Well, okay. Not sure how I feel about Zombie Raccoons & Killer Bunnies, but bad titles are a topic for a later blog. Back to my point, which is this: having an atrocious cover will prevent people from reading the amazing stuff you write.
Here are some more incredible covers, just so that I can counteract the ugly that seems to be overwhelming this post.
In conclusion, I want to add that this post is HIGHLY opinionated. If you don’t agree, that’s fine. Everyone has different opinions and is attracted to different things. However, if you take a look at the books that grace the shelves of book stores and best seller lists today, you’re going to see a lot of covers similar to those that I’ve included as examples of attractive covers. Obviously, I’m not the only one who judges books by their cover.
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I agree– I especially love the cover of The Host. Great cover, and also a great book 🙂
Not a great book, a FANTASTIC book! One of my favorites. It had me up all day and through the night reading, bawling my eyes out. 🙂
I know– I couldn’t believe the ending! SO GOOD!
As terrible as it is, I don’t even remember exactly how it ended! I’ve read so many books since then. I just remember how amazing it was.
Guess that’s another reason to buy it and read through before the movie comes out, eh?
Very much agree. As a designer, I’ve definitely decided what works and what doesn’t. I’m also very bad for grabbing books (or anything, really) that look pretty. I picked up “Before I Fall” for the cover and I love, love, love the cover for “Illuminate.” And I’m laughing at the Zombie Raccoons and Killer Bunnies one. It seems book cover designers are doing a better job, even though at times I very much hate it when I get a pretty book that turns out to be awful.
I know. I’m a HUGE aesthetics person, so I rarely read a book that doesn’t have a good cover. Nowadays, though, so many crappy books get published with beautiful covers… that’s frustrating. It’s like they lure me in with the cover, and then the story is completely pointless.