Friday, February 10, 2012

What makes me pick up a book?

You know the old saying, "Never judge a book by it's cover"? Well, that's horse-hockey. That's exactly why covers are dynamic, colorful, and designed to catch the eye.

When I see a book for the first time, the very first time, I look at the cover--this tells me pretty much everything I need to know about the book in one fell swoop. Is it a romance? Sci-Fi? Historical something-or-other? It will be there, emblazoned and embossed, on the cover.

That's why there are cover artists and graphic designers, for cryin' out loud!

Now, does the pretty picture make me purchase? No. Not at all. But what it does do is make me open the book and read the synopsis and the blurbs. Those have to grab me or I put it back on the shelf; but before a book grabs me, there's the cover staring me down, challenging me, offering me insight into a new world. A world of excitement, adventure, fun, fulfillment, titillation, sadness and remorse, or joy.

All because a cover spoke to me. So, yeah, you should judge a book by the cover. I do it all the time, but that doesn't mean that every cover needs to be this explosion of events; no, there are some that will suffer from that. The imagery has to match the content.

With MINIMAL, my second (and still in progress) book, the cover will reflect the name and be--well--minimalistic. This will be a sharp divergence from the cover of Memories of the Dead, which was at least colored after a fashion. Memories of the Dead is predominately blue, akin to midnight, but not quite; and MINIMAL will be stark white with a little color (and the color being blood red.) [Side note: I haven't decided if I will attempt traditional publishing with MINIMAL or not; we're not at that state yet, and I do the designs in my head primarily to keep me thinking about the final project and also to keep me from hitting a brick wall if traditional publication doesn't come to be. At least I'm driving forward, in a manner of speaking, even if I'm just dreaming of the cover's design.]

Will it stand out? Who knows. Hope so. We'll see. I hope, more than anything, that when someone sees the cover the first thing they do is pick it up and then see what might be inside. Once the novel is in their hands, it's the synopsis and the blurbs that have to grab 'em, but I have to make it to that point--by way of the alluring cover--before anything else can happen.

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