Friday, April 1, 2011

Book covers

Book covers in the age of ebook publishing. Important?

Back in the day when books only came out printed on paper and smeared with ink, hard back and paperback book covers were important. So important a side industry was created. Artists specialzing in book covers and nothing else was born. As well, interestingly enough, the avid industry of collecting dust covers and book jackets. And believe me some of these dust jackets collectors will pay sizeable dineros to possess.

But today with new technologies like smart phones and eraders, are book jacket illustrations still important? The answer in two words--Hell yes!! Maybe even more than ever.

What first attracts you to picking up something and reading it? An author's name? The blurb describing the book? Or the artwork. Go to Amazon or Barnes & Noble digital libraries and start scrolling. What leaps up to you from the very first? The artwork. Always the artwork.

Spend hours writing and rewriting a novel, then even more hours editing and editing, and you send if off to a publisher. You're done. Generally that's the way its been in the past. But not in today's digital epublishing world. A writer damn well better be as diligent in the design of the bookcover as they were in the writing. Example: scroll down to the right of this little epistle and take a look at the book cover for my Muderous Passions novel. Looks . . . well . . .adquate. Except for one slight hiccup. The image has absolutely nothing to do with the story. Doesn't even come close.

Now look at the cover for Call Me Smitty or Tough Guys. Dead on accurate as to what's inside. And both are eye-grabbers.

Or, at least, I think they are. What say you?


  1. I don't think a cover has ever pushed me to buy a book, though a bad cover can sometimes argues against my purchase. My primary factors in buying a book are my knowledge of the author's previous work, and recommendations of those whose opinions I trust.

  2. My computer's nutty and my comment got erased before it posted, so I'm going to try again.

    I know it isn't fair, but what first attracts me to any book is the cover. If I'm looking for new work by a particular writer, if the cover is not appealing, what's inside might be amazing, but I've already lost half my interest in it.

    I had a similar experience with one of my books when it was published as an ebook. It is a crime fiction/noir novel, but the cover makes it appear as if it is straight-on horror. Nothing could be further from the truth. Now, the paperback version? The cover is perfectly in line with the story. I don't understand how that happened.

    Your Smitty cover is right in line with your character. This one is suggestive of a thriller and the components a thriller offers (i.e., fear, crime, homicide...). For those of us who find great joy in that particular genre, it's a real grabber. I think it's great.