Monday, October 20, 2008

Covering The Story: How cover design makes a first impression

Do you ever wonder if painters want to leap in front of their canvas and explain to art lovers what they should see? I wonder if authors want to do the same thing. Do we sometimes wish our cover suggested or emphasized one idea over another? Are we sometimes baffled by a casual observer's 10 second judgment of our book by its cover?

My answer to this last question is YES.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE my cover design (right). The artist incorporated the puzzle piece imagery based on my suggestion that Jane, the character in the center of JANEOLOGY, is really a puzzle to all who knew her, especially her husband. But when a couple of blog reviewers suggested recently that when they first saw my cover they thought the book was Sci-Fi (instead of psychological suspense) well, it kinda threw me.

So I've added this week's comments to the category in my diary known as Debut Novelist Lessons. There are many. And while I was thinking about my own cover, I began scanning my own library and made an interesting discovery - many covers suggest something different from the story. Or perhaps more interesting, the hardback vs. the paperback cover of the same book seems to suggest a different energy, possibly a different story atmosphere. Here are a few samples of hardback/paperback covers from my stacks. Interesting, huh? Care to share responses you received to your own book covers?

Visit the site Book Covers to peruse dozens of book covers, old and new. Writers and designers can upload their own covers on this site.

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Or to read a chapter of JANEOLOGY and view the trailer, visit

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