Judge A Book by its Cover

Amazon Kindle“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” We all know the saying. We all recognise that there is a level of wisdom in it – but we all do it. We judge books by their cover all the time – or is it just me? The truth is, an eye-catching professional-looking cover can grab us. It makes us subconsciously think that the book must be good. Likewise, a bad cover can instantly put us in the mindset that the book is tacky an amateurish.

In this age of easy self-publishing, Kindles and print-on-demand, we are more saturated with books than ever before. Some of them are really good, and some of them are not. Sites like SpiritFiledKindle.com let us know all the freebies that are currently available. My Kindle is almost full. I have a “to read” list with 41 items in it, and that doesn’t include books I have in print, or the books that I really want to read but haven’t yet purchased. How does a person sift through all this and decide what to read next. Well, call me a bad person, call me shallow and foolish, but one of the measures I tend to use is the cover art. When I see a professional looking cover on a Kindle freebie I think one of two things:

  1. The book has been put out by a publisher and they have hired a professional to design a good cover. This means the book has also been professionally edited.
  2. The book is self-published but the author has enough pride in their work to get a professional cover. Maybe they have the necessary skills, maybe they have a friend with the skills, or maybe they forked out some money to get a cover made. This probably means they’ve taken pride in the writing as well and have produced a quality polished book.

I am not a published author yet, either traditional or self, but I can imagine that getting a good cover is not easy. Who really has the money to fork out for it? Probably not many people in this day and age. Still, the cover is the first impression that a reader gets of your book. If it is looks like something you slapped together in Windows Paint or Microsoft Word then it will scream ‘amateur’.

Okay, this is all well and good, but what am I saying practically? I’m no expert, but here a a few ideas to think about if you have to put a cover together yourself:

  • Don’t use default Windows or Office fonts. Try to find a font that isn’t already used by everyone and his dog. There are lots of free fonts out there, and if you can afford it, even consider buying a font.
  • Look at covers – a lot of covers – see what works and what doesn’t.
  • Make friends with a graphic designer 😉

Ultimately, I’m not saying we should judge a book by its cover, I’m only saying that we do.

Photo Credit

Amazon Kindle by NotFromUtrecht.

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About Adam David Collings

Adam Collings is a writer of speculative fiction who works as a software engineer during the day. He lives in Tasmania, Australia with his wife and two children. Adam is currently working on a science fiction novel.
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2 Responses to Judge A Book by its Cover

  1. alyshadeshae says:

    I do this all the time… In fact, I was at the library earlier and (while I checked out ten books) I walked around looking at the covers that caught my eye and snapped pictures to look them up for later. I do this ALL the time and everywhere! It’s the quickest and easiest way for me to make “notes” of which books I may want to read. If I look them up and the reviews are all awful, I might not bother with it, but as you said, a professionally done cover tends to say “hey, we edited this – we promise!”

    But it is fairly easy to find decently made covers without too much work or too much money. This website even has an “under $30” section with some images that would catch my eye and have me snapping a picture: http://www.dreamscapecovers.com/covers-under-30.html

    Just in case you were curious, I found you through Google+ with the “book covers” trending topic. Your Kindle picture and post title caught my eye. :-p

    • Thanks for stopping by Alysha. I’m glad you found me on Google Plus. That trending hashtag for book covers was very well timed – providence perhaps. I noticed it just after I posted, and quickly edited to add the hashtag.

      Dreamscape Covers looks like a useful resource. Thanks for sharing it.

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