Monday, March 9, 2009

Looks, and How They Sucked Me In

On my birthday, my hubby whisked me away and plopped me down into the fiction aisle of the local bookstore. Then he said, voice deep and sexy, "Buy". You all should know that I'm a submissive wife, so I did exactly what he said. >g<

I didn't go all crazy and decided that as much as I wanted to just swoop all those books into my arms and run, I couldn't. So I had to choose, and boy was that hard.

Guess what I looked at first?

Yep. Covers.

If a cover looked interesting, I checked out the title and then the backcover copy. After awhile, I realized what I was doing and deliberately looked at Titles, blurbs and first pages.

But the sad truth remains. My eye was caught by looks first.

Have you thought about your manuscript's book cover? What it might look like and how it might entice readers to buy?

32 comments:

Jody Hedlund said...

Hi again Jessica!

I LOVE your husband's birthday present. I'm locking that idea away for the future!

I find myself looking at covers too. It's one of the first things that draws me to a book, along with the title. But the clincher for buying the book is usually the back cover blurb and the first page.

So what did you end up buying? :)

Kristen Painter said...

I think about potential covers for my books all the time.

Janna Qualman said...

AWESOME hubby, AWESOME birthday! I'm with Jody - filing that idea away, to non-chalantly mention to the hubs in the future. ;)

I've absolutely thought about covers. With my first, Bliss Lake, I've envisioned a photo I took myself: I was sitting on our dock, but all you can see is my bare feet and the water beyond. It fits with the character and book's happenings... but then we all know authors have little say in the final cover.

I did read recently, though, that as writers, we can make files of ideas and pictures with the kinds of covers we like and envision for our own - it may go a long way in the pub's decision. So I'll be keeping that in mind!

Captain Hook said...

I actually don't look at the cover until I've read the blurb at the back. Half the time it's obvious the cover artists haven't even read the book (case in point, a romance i read years ago in which the lead characters were a blond woman and a Native American man - cover showed a blond man and redheaded woman).

Eileen Astels Watson said...

This surprises me, but no, I've never really thought of a cover for any of the four books I have or am writing. Isn't that strange?

Now you got me thinking!

What a nice gift hubby gave you! He's a definite keeper!

Dara said...

I've had some thoughts about what it would look like, but I know that it'll probably look completely different since authors hardly ever have any say in what their covers will look like.

Anyway, that doesn't stop me from picturing it. Most of the time I picture my cover with an old Japanese woodblock print.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

Now that's a birthday gift!

When I go into a bookstore, I generally have a pretty good idea what I want. Of course, I'll browse, but the author is critical to whether or not I buy.

I get to know the author through blogs, websites, Facebook, book reviews, etc. Bookcovers, back cover blurbs, etc. play almost no role in my selection.

Gotta run off to work.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Angie Ledbetter said...

What a great gift!

Yes, thinking of book covers all the time for my future publication. LOL. I know what draws me to a book, so hope to hit on the same sort of "looks" with my own one day.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

A very happy and blessed birthday to you! One of the best birthday gifts I could receive is to be allowed to run wildly through a book store with a shopping cart and fill it up and find out it's all free! LOL!

I must confess that I am a cover first, blurb second and read the first few pages book shopper.

Jessica said...

Hey Jody,
LOL I'm going to post later about my books, 'cause I ended up being extremely practical. :-( Didn't want to be, but I was.
It was a great birthday present, btw. Your husband will probably appreciate the easyness of it. LOL

Jessica said...

Kristen, now it's really important, huh. Does Samhain give you some say in the cover?

Jessica said...

Janna, your description sounds like it would make a lovely cover that would evoke a certain mood. Great idea. :-)
I read that too. Publishing houses operate different ways. I know Steeple Hill gives their authors a lot of leeway with the covers.

Jessica said...

Hey Miss Hook,
LOL You crack me up! You're right though, sometimes the covers don't match. I'm actually not a big fan of people on the front type covers. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn't. Thanks for sharing your jaded view! LOL

Jessica said...

Eileen, hubby is definitely a keeper, though he's still being trained. He's actually a very wild man. I have trouble taming him, but apparently something is working 'cause the poor guy suffered through the bookstore for me. :-)
Have fun thinking about covers. Steeple Hill will send you this huge Art Fact Sheet (or something) to fill out for their art department, so it's good to be prepared. :-)

Jessica said...

Hmmm, I don't know what a japanese woodblock looks like, but I'm betting it's beautiful, just based on the other artwork I'm familiar with. Pretty idea, Dara. :-)

Jessica said...

Eek! Susan, you're so methodical! :-) And loyal. It's true that I have trouble with losing my money for authors I've never read. I'm definitely guilty of buying books of authors I've met online, just because they're so nice and I want to support them.
You're very generous. Have a great day at work!

Jessica said...

That's smart of you Angie. And helpful for your publisher or agent, that you already know what you want to convey with your cover.

Jessica said...

LOL Donna! Your description sounds like a dream come true!!!! Instead of those grocery or department store shopping sprees, we could have a bookstore one. Sigh. If only...

T. Anne said...

What a wonderful and wise husband! I hope your day was happy and magical.

Actually I thought about cover design last night. I came to the conclusion I should keep a folder with idea's in it. Booksurge has a new feature where you can see the different cover designs they offer. For my literary fiction I'd prefer an actual picture, something moody, black and white would be nice.

Nancy J. Parra said...

"Then he said, voice deep and sexy, "Buy"."

Oh, I got goosebumps at your description...

Covers do make a huge difference... My question is do cover pics make a difference for e-books?

Thanks for the great post!

Jessica said...

Oooh, T. Anne. Black and white sounds beautiful, esp. for literary fiction.

Jessica said...

You know, Nancy, I'm not an e-book buyer (yet), but I would imagine the cover would matter a great deal. I've perused the Wild Rose Press site before and I usually click on covers that look interesting for an excerpt. That's not too say a bad covered book won't do as well, because I still read the excerpts and blurbs. Great question though. I'd love to know the answer to that.

Glad I gave you goosebumps. LOL

Kathryn Magendie said...

I'm hoping my cover is as compelling to readers as it is to me! *smiling*

I look at covers too -- I'm trying to remember, before I became "aware" of these things, what did I look for/at -- I bet it was covers, then the jacket or back of book blurb ...

what did you buy!?

Jessica said...

Hi Kathryn,
I love your cover! It seems to go so well with your story, or the excerpts I've read. It's a touching cover and I think it will catch readers eyes for sure, esp. mothers.

jessie said...

One book I am working on has an incredible cover, a great title, a great marketing concept...but oh yeah, still have to write it. I am all about the covers. I have to at least imagine how my book is going to LOOK, or I feel a piece is missing as I write.

Jessica said...

Hey Jessie, too cool that you have the cover in your head already. That's interesting and helpful.

Janna Qualman said...

Jessica, how do I get a word counter like you have in your sidebar? I've been looking through Blogger's gadget options but can't find anything (might be looking in the wrong place). Help! :)

sherrinda said...

So Jessica, how many books did you end up with? ;)

I confess if I am just browsing, I look at covers first, and then the back blurb. If I don't know the author, that is what I do...I admit it freely!

And YES, I definitely have a book cover for the book I am writing (and for the ones still in my head!) I really love the ones that are all the rage with the tops of the H/H's head cut off. LOL That sounds funny, but it is true. It leaves something to the imagination.

Jessica said...

Janna, after I put the kids to bed I'll let you know how. It's easy but there are a few steps involved. :-)

Jessica said...

Hi Sherrinda,
I got three books and I'm going to post about them tomorrow, because only one really got my heart thumping. :-)
The covers with half a face are pretty cool. I like them too.

Irritable Mother said...

LOL!!!
I'm sorry, what were you saying?
Ever since I read, "Then he said, voice deep and sexy, 'Buy'. You all should know that I'm a submissive wife, so I did exactly what he said," I have been giggling uncontrollably! *grin*
So what was it? Something about covers?
Yeah, that's it.
I love my covers! And though I know you "aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover," quite frankly - that's what people do. So I am incredibly grateful that such a talented guy made my covers!

Enjoyed your musings, Jessica.

Jessica said...

Ooh, I made you giggle? Cool.
I have to tell you, I LOVE your covers. Really. They're awesome and exactly what our little munchkins are like. You're right. We do judge the cover to get an idea of what might be inside.