Old Moon

Monday, July 14, 2008

Judging a book by its cover

Don't judge a book by its cover. Why ever not? Most of the time in these days of eye-catching jackets instead of handsome, dignified tooled leather, it's all you have to judge by. Our nearest Barnes and Noble is full of browsers, but every time we go in, I have to wonder whether any of them have to work for a living or take care of their houses and yards. It takes time even just to read the jacket blurbs, and when you have, it's not easy to decide how honest they are. I don't know how often you've been fooled, but I've become suspicious even though it's about the only option a potential buyer has. Of course if you've read more than a single review, you're way ahead of the game.

Publishers and their publicity departments know this for sure. The trouble is, there's another aphorism, "One man's meat...etc." I really would welcome some feedback on this. Here at top right is a cover for the same book pictured below right. It's out of print, and I had to figure out a new cover for its reissue by another small, independent press, etc. Which of the two--top or bottom--would be more likely to make you want to read what's behind the cover?You won't hurt my feelings. Both were my choice. Since one didn't sell many books, I hoped for better from the other. And yes, I have a preference.


Glenda (Writerlady) said...

I like both covers, but the first one catches my eye better on the screen. However, having seen the second one on the book, I think it is excellent. For commercial purposes the first one might go better on a store shelf.
But I certainly don't know.
I usually read the blurbs on the back and then the first page to decide if the book interests me.

I have heard many editors say the book has to grab the reader on the first page or two. Guess that is true for me, also.

In my classes we compare openings and first pages of books to see which one best grabs our attention.

My sister, however, reads the ending of every book before she buys it. She hates books that are downers and have bad endings for the characters.

So how do we know what to do to please a reader? Beats me!

Rebecca said...

The title and the cover do need to grab me....then I read the jacket cover first, then the first few pages. If that doesn't catch me, I'm done.

I find interesting your comment about the people at barnes and noble - usually I go in there with no timeline in mind, nothing else to do afterward, and can spend hours just roaming through. I find it a very enjoyable, relaxing way to spend some time:)

FAPORT International said...

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