Monday, January 3, 2011

Cover Love

I’m kicking off the New Year with a confession. I judge books by their covers. I often buy them based on my opinion. What do you know, I’m a cover girl!

Here are two beautiful, alluring covers that immediately spark imagination and interest. They offer invitation.
I’m reading The Writing Circle now.

Carla Stewart’s novel, Broken Wings has yet to be released, but I’m counting the days until it is. I love her writing, fiercely identify with it, and when I had the opportunity to laugh it up with her at ACFW, I found her to be a complete delight.

These are the kind of books I’d enjoy setting on a coffee table (if we owned one). They especially appeal to me as a women’s fiction writer.

Literary agent, Rachelle Gardner recently asked on her blog if we, as writers, ever envision or give much thought to our covers. I know I do. I’m a visual person. Playing with certain images helps me to visualize publication, enables me to see it happening. But I’m not stubborn about my mental mockups. Picturing covers for my novels is an excellent way for me to hone in on the overall message or theme of each of my books.

I enjoy covers. I already confessed I buy a book after locking eyes with a stunning cover. I was a sucker for Marley & Me because of the dog on the front. (The book matched the quality of the cover.)

Do you have a cover that takes your breath away or one that you’d like to place on a table for all the world to see?

*photos from amazon


  1. Do you find it interesting that these covers sport a similar design, both of which contain elements of your blog design? Hmmm.

    I like the cover of Ann Lamott's book, Grace(Eventually). It's the kind of clever design that appeals to me.

    For my books, I envision cartoon drawings for the covers. Partly because my son is an animator, and partly because my life is like a cartoon.

  2. I will totally pick up a book and read it if I love the cover! And the title. I can't help it.

  3. I love a good cover, and I judge books by them too. Without an enticing cover, I rarely pick up the book to see what it's about. Plus I love the feel of a good book, too.

  4. i don't get a lot of time to got to the bookstore and when I do (yay, last Friday!) I had gift certificates to spend and was out to buy books. I only looked at the covers to draw me to the blurb. And found some pretty great suggestions.

    I'm with you Wendy, Cover it all the way!

  5. I've definitely bought books because the cover spoke to me... sometimes I'm disappointed, sometimes (like Marley and Me) the book matched the cover beautifully.

  6. yeah, I, too, judge books by their covers often! I've definitely imagined what the covers of my books will look like someday.

    By the way, I can't read Marley and Me, and I've only watched the movie up until the lab's hind legs go weak as he walks up the new house's porch steps. I have a 13-year-old golden retriever. I have no desire to know how that movie ends. (I know I'm living in a bubble.)

  7. Covers matter. I know of one very successful book recently published by Thomas Nelson, and I think the cover had a great deal to do with its popularity. I also just saw a stunning cover for Jim Rubart's most recent novel. It's perfect for his genre.

    Happy New Year, Wendy!

  8. I judge books my their covers and I am constantly dreaming about my books cover. LOL One day...

  9. In my opinion, "Don't judge a book by its cover" has about the same truth to it as the old saying: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." I realize the judging-the-cover expression goes deeper when it refers to people, but heck yeah--I judge a real book by its cover all the time. I think the cover is its own art form; it's what initially draws me in and distinguishes certain books that are nestled in among all the others. Even the spine art/font (and title) plays into my deciding to take a book off the shelf and see if it's anything I might be interested in. Though at the moment, I can't think of a single cover that takes my breath away.(!)

    Just curious, since you picked Marley & Me based on the cover, have you ever seen the cover to The Art of Racing in the Rain? I bought and read that book based on the cover. But then they changed the dog (must have been a later release) and I'm not sure I would have picked it up based on the second cover, which is odd because the dogs aren't that different, but something about the first cover pulled me in (maybe it looks more like my old dog). And obviously, some additional thought must have gone into changing it to a different dog...I think they switched it from a yellow lab to a golden retriever.

  10. Those are BEAUTIFUL covers... i agree, they are coffee table worthy. I definitely judge books by covers. I'm not necessarily connected to great artwork or photos but just covers that look like they took time and effort.

  11. Love both, but the second is my fave (hello, bird girl!). I hate that we as writers don't have as much creative control over our covers :( but then again, for me, that's a little putting the cart in front of the horse!

  12. I'm proud to be a cover girl too! There's something alluring about a romantic cover. I love whimsical illustrations too. Anything sensual will usually draw me in.

  13. Covers matter. That's one of three things I check out when I examine a book. (The other two are the author's name and the back cover blurb.)

    On the momentous someday when my book is on the shelves, I hope it has a great cover. However, I plan to entrust the design to the publisher's artistic team. Sure, I can envision a cover, but I'm afraid I might be as inept at coming up with an appealing one as I am at thinking up titles that work.

    There's really only one thing on the cover of my book I would care passionately about: my name. As long as it's there and spelled correctly, I'm prepared to leave the creative aspects to the graphic artists. I do far better with words. =)

  14. I love the bright colors in both of those covers. And yes, I think a cover can say a lot about a book, but I have found some hidden treasures masked by homely outsides. :)

  15. I think you hit on something big here. FOr me I subconsciously expect the quality of the cover to match the quality of the writing. I'm not sure how much pull we will have over our covers but I definitely think that is something to consider. I love this post! I haven't heard of the first book but I want to read it now! Thanx for adding to my TBR pile ;)

  16. You're always told not to "judge books by their cover", and I wholeheartedly agree for people, but actual books?? gotta judge!! Covers are so so so important!! They tell the possible reader something about the story before they even read one word.

    I can usually tell by a cover if the book is something I'll like or not...I know what I like.

    Is it really bad that I even judge by the binding......I don't often go for dark covers...and the binding matches the I am usually drawn to brighter bindings, when I can't see the cover first.

  17. I'm definitely a cover person, I judge them all the time.

    Your idea of picturing your cover was interesting since I haven't given it much thought, since you have such little control, but the idea of honing in on what your book is about by the cover is intriguing.

    My that was a long sentence.

  18. Hey Wendy! Very cool that you like my cover. These two are remarkable similar. I love the colors on both, and yes, I judge a book by its cover. One recent favorite read was The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. The title and the cover sold me before I read anything about the book. Turns out it was a fabulous read. A recent acquisition is Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. Love the cover and can't wait to dive in to the book (which is a best seller by now).

    Thanks for a great topic!

    ps: I've read the dog books even knowing I would cry for days, but since dogs so enrich our lives, I wanted to read about others' experiences with their beloved pets.

  19. I think about my covers a lot, but I can never really picture them. Does that even make sense? Sure it does. Right?

    I love those two covers. They look quite similar.

  20. I have definite cover bias! Oh well. :O)

  21. Jeanette, I own that one, but it has a different cover than the one I pulled up on amazon. I like what I saw and I love her work! Yes, I'm clearly drawn to things of nature, birds and the maternal--all three tie into my novel out on submission.

    Laura, Yep, me too. Birds of a feather to continue my last train of thought.

    Georgiana, You bring up a valuable point, part of the reason I've been slow to warm to Kindle. My day will come though. I'll break down and buy a robot machine. ;)

    Bonnie, I'm also a sucker for a great first line or first paragraph.

    Kristin, There are times when I'm hanging out with my dog that I think of scenes from that book.

    Heather, I get that bubble. Our dog is eleven and having more and more issues. But I still love me a good dog book.

    Rosslyn, Happy New Year to you! Thomas Nelson is sharp. I'm a booksneezer and I've noticed they do it up right. Cool for Rubart (pretty sure we just became FB friends).

    Gia, Oh, what the heck, just put a date on it. I'll go with September 8th. Sounds good to me. ;)

    WNWI, Cool points...loved the dialogue. I enjoyed The Art of Racing in the Rain. Again, the dog. Didn't realize they changed the cover on that one. I'm pretty open-minded when it comes to people. I find all kinds of people stunning. I'm more picky with books. The two I posted got me most likely b/c of the genre I write.

    Erin, Great point about the time and effort. I know what you mean about books that look like they took little effort to design. I wonder what that's like for the author (or if they even care).

    Beth, My imagination can't help but put a dozen carts before the horse. The joy of dreaming. It's probably the title of one of my novels that has me hooked on birds--The Partridge Sacrifice.

    Tamika, Whimsical illustrations are cool. I wish I had more of an artistic talent. I'm just a know it when I see it type of gal.

    Keli, I will be flipping out on that day for you! You have encouragement embedded inside your bones! I pay attention to the author and endorsements as well. And of course the story concept.

    Sarah, That is absolutely the truth. Some of my favorite books have drab covers. So I lean both ways on this. My eye is just drawn to an aesthetically pleasing cover.

    T.Anne, Yeah, not thinking we get much pull at all. But that's the fun of trusting the process. And I bet you have heard of book #1. Rachelle mentioned it on her blog a few months ago. That's where I first heard of it.

    Stephanie, I hadn't thought much about binding, but that is true. I'm also one of those woman who knows what I want...big time applies to shopping (which I don't enjoy btw).

    Patti, Long sentence are all good here. Stream of conscious your heart out! I realize how little control I'll have, but you nailed it, I do it more for the imagery...delighting in what surfaces.

    CARLA, Cool to have you visit. I've told so many people about your book. This is what I do when I love a book. I've heard about The Hotel before...I must check it out. Oh, and Last Stand...a new one for me to look into. I love word of mouth (and dogs)!!!!

    Katie, Coming from you, yes, it makes perfect sense. I'll be praying for your full return to school. Yes, the two are similar.

    Diane, Good, don't you feel better having confessed that!

    I'm warmed by your visits. This blog stays alive because you keep the conversation running--and what conversation!

    I am in the midst of birthday land. Everyone but me in our family has one this month. Parties galore (not to be mistaken for a crude James Bond name). I was an English it that obvious?

    I read someone's response to someone else asking what they want to do this year/ went something like this, "I want to love Jesus as radically as he loves me." That's been with me all day. Thanks Patti H. (ah, the power of words)!

    ~ Wendy

  22. Hi Wendy -

    For me, covers aren't the deciding factor in buying a book. That said, I appreciate a picture that draws me in with promises of mystery or romance.

    Susan :)

  23. Wendy:
    Yes, I am a cover girl, too. My favorite one is on the book, "Home To Holly Springs" by Jan Karon. It shows a young Timmy Kavanaugh being helped up a hill by what appears to be the servant woman who looked after him until she mysteriously left.

  24. Hi Wendy and Happy New Year!
    I am very visually oriented and book covers are important to me. I mostly read Christian historal fiction and find that I'm rather picky about the historical accuracy displayed in the design. I've seen some ridiculous things! But so many are done so well, it helps give me a sense of the book and I can't help myself from flipping back and forth from page to cover.

  25. I'm a cover girl too. Not ashamed to say so. Though I also buy books on recommendations, so I'm not all cover girl :)
    Happy New Year.

  26. I definitely pick books based on the covers. If the cover doesn't appeal to me, I don't even read the blurb on the back.

  27. Always have gravitated to the cover first. Sometimes I'm disappointed if I buy the book without knowing the author and it's not that good - but I believe a great cover is a vital part of the marketing package. I absolutely can't wait to see mine! I happen to know the person who's designing it, so I have great expectations!!

  28. Covers totally do it for me. If it is poorly done, I assume not much care was given to the inside as well:)

  29. Oh, man, I'm a total cover person too! I love stroking them, analyzing them, the whole works. I love both of these!

  30. I feel like a dork but covers aren't a huge deal for me. I rarely buy one based on the cover. However, I do appreciate a beautiful cover. I love the two you picked--they're almost the same! Isn't that funny?


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