Monday, 17 September 2012

Judging a book by its cover

Covers can be worrying for authors, because they are the first thing your readers will see of your book. A brilliant story with a boring cover by an unknown author might never be picked off the shelf – or, more likely – never be put on the shelf in the first place, since booksellers are also influenced strongly by covers as they don’t have time to read all the books they stock.

In a few rare cases, the author’s name might be enough to take the place of an interesting design. Would you pick up this book if it was written by Joe Bloggs? This is an example of a book where a fussy cover might actually hide the thing that will really sell it - i.e. the author's name.

Muse disclaimer: We understand this book is for adults and has nothing to do with boy wizards.

Katherine's publisher has taken a more literal approach using scenes from the books. This is a bit more risky than a cover with a big black cross on it, since readers are quick to point out things that don’t match the story, like Rhianna’s sword mysteriously changing hands... though of course they only notice that after they’ve read the book, and so the cover has already done its job by then.

In Book 2 Lance of Truth (coming Oct 1st) you'll notice Rhianna is still carrying Excalibur in her right hand:

But by this time she’s had some knightly training, so that’s fine. I’ve actually made her ambidextrous to explain why in Books 3 and 4 (coming next year), you should see the Sword magically change hands…

Here’s a very early glimpse, specially for unicorn-fans, of the Book 3 cover:

(Muse: I think those dragons look very fierce, so I’m glad I’m not in it!)

The other lovely thing about paper editions of books, rather than ebooks, is that their covers can have shiny parts to catch your eye, like the title of the brand new paperback of Sword of Light (coming Oct 1st):

and this gold foiled new edition of Song Quest:

So what do YOU look for when you choose a book to read from the shelf? Interesting cover picture? Mysterious cover image? Author’s name? Title? Glitter? Something else?

Let the Muse know!


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