Monthly Mumbles: Book Covers (or Lacking)


Please note, these are solely my thoughts and nothing more. But, I had to share, regardless of how shallow my readers might think me to be. Recently I got asked to select a free book from a publisher to read. It was my choice, so I could’ve selected anything. I was slightly familiar with the publisher, since I know someone that edits for them. Thus, I was thrilled to take my freebie! (Besides…booooooks people!)

Now, we’ve all heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover”. And sure, this holds true for many things, especially humans. But in marketing, what’s in front of a consumer must be visually stimulating. And I confess, I am a consumer that needs roused to pick up a book before I’ve ever read the blurb. But from a marketing standpoint, this is just smart business!

So, imagine my dismay as I perused unpleasant cover art from various titles to select my awarded freebie. Most looked cheaply done or simply didn’t mesh with the title. And forgive me for this, but I judge the lack of detail given to a book’s cover as indication of the lack of editing probably given to the story. My eyes will roam over the cover and move along to the next. And with technology today, there simply isn’t a good reason to have bad cover art!

As authors, we don’t always have control over the cover art, but I’d stress to stand ground when something seems extremely off or comes across cheap in appearance. Should a writer want a lovely embracing couple on their horror book? No, this would lead readers to think it’s a love story and could result in bad reviews from romance readers. And authors wouldn’t want a picture of an ocean if their entire story is set within a magical forest. Why would authors expect anything less than perfect for their book baby? This is even more important for authors self publishing. Take the same amount of time on the cover art as you spend on editing. If you hire out the art, be sure to check previous work before settling on the artist or company. This is about proper marketing. Give the reader a reason to pick up the book BEFORE they’ve read the blurb!

That’s it. Rant over.

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA fiction.


2 thoughts on “Monthly Mumbles: Book Covers (or Lacking)

  1. I’ve been following you for awhile and I enjoy your posts. Ironically, I just got a draft of my cover art from my publishers and it couldn’t have been more wrong, unless of course my book was in the vein of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. Which it’s not. They’re going back to the drawing board, thankfully. The publisher didn’t like the cover either. It was a shock to see it and I was very BLUNT about why it didn’t work and gave suggestions that more closely resembled what was behind the cover.

    1. Thanks for following me Cheryl. I’m so glad my posts have been interesting enough to keep you around! As for your cover, WOW! That could have turned into a complete nightmare for you on the release date. I’m so glad you stood your ground. Too often, authors think they can’t voice their opinion and let the publishers take complete control. Sometimes, publishers will be polite to listen to an author, but still do it their way in the end. But when something is out of place, it makes no sense to stand idle while a publisher messes with a writers career, possibly causing a negative impact. A horrible book cover can generate low sales due to readers thinking there might be a subplot they’d enjoy based on cover art, even though it wasn’t mentioned in the blurb. Then that reader gives a bad review when the subplot they’d hoped for never unfolds. Good on you for discussing the issue with your publisher. I hope the next cover reveal will be exactly what you hope for!

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