Monday, June 4, 2012

You CAN Tell a Book by Its Cover

When playing with my great-grandmother’s books as a child, I was amazed that some  books were printed with the pages still attached together. My grandmother told me it was part of the binding process during the 19th century. The reader used a razor to cut the pages apart before they could read them. Not being allowed access to a razor, I very carefully (I thought) tore the pages apart - that is until Mama discovered what I was doing and stored the books out of reach. Most of the old books had brown covers made of leather, fabric or heavy cardboard, occasionally with gold trim. Just looking at one of the books, there was no clue about the book’s content. Great-grandmother was very fond of religious sermons but she also read Poe and Tennyson - but you couldn’t tell from the cover.

Today, the book cover, the back cover blurb, and the first page of the book are major factors in determining a reader’s buying decision. Authors, however, are generally not artists and, by contract, the final cover decisions are the publisher’s. After a book is written, contracted for publication, and undergoing edits, the author completes a Cover Questionnaire to tell the artist about the characters, locations, and other particulars of the book. Some artists use Photoshop, stock photos, and a predetermined format to produce a house cover. Often, it is not difficult to tell a book’s origin based on base colors, design, and even cover models.
Not so at Champagne. A visit to the Champagne website will reveal a collection of magnificent covers. Each cover is a unique work of art by Champagne’s artists. As for the author, when the email arrives with the cover attached, the reality of the upcoming publication hits home. Recently, when the email arrived with the cover for Into the Lyons’ Den attached, I held my breath hoping that it would be just right. It was better than right, it was magnificent. Trisha Fitzgerald captured the characters, setting, and tone perfectly. (See Pic) I hope that readers who like edgy paranormal shapeshifter stories will feel the same. Into the Lyons' Den is scheduled for release in August. You can read an excerpt at .  Next month, Building a Paranormal World   Rita Bay


Big Mike said...

I've got as similar post scheduled Rita. I'm always impressed at the quality and diversity of our covers. After all, we're not one of the big six, are we. Yet, that difference between the mammoths and the upstarts provides tremendous opportunity for missed talent ignored by the giants stuck in a rut. Some of the covers from CB blow my old chemo pickled mind.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2011)

Rita Bay said...

I agree, Mike. I plan to have at least one poster of my beautiful Into the Lyons' Den cover. Sorry I jumped ahead of you - didn't know. This is part of of my PR without being TOO PR for the August release of Into the Lyons' Den. Next month, I'm blogging about creating a paranormal world - which is waht I did for Into the Lyons' Den. As for PR, what is the name of my book? LOL Rita

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Our covers are great. It's a thrill to see how the artist interprets our stories.

Interior Design was my major at art school. I would no sooner design a cover than swim the English Channel. The trick to a good cover is what we writers call focus. Artists call it the center of interest. We are blessed with great cover artists.

Allison said...

l don't think you can tell a book by it's cover - unfortunately. But a cover will sell a book. I learned that with my fourth book for Kensington. Bad cover, few sales.

To answer you question, I buy my favorite authors, but if I don't know the author I look at the cover. If it interests me, I'll read the blurb. But the cover first.

My thanks to the artists of Champagne. We have excellent covers. Great 'center of interest.'

January Bain said...

Good Post, Rita, and oh so true!!!

Rita Bay said...

THanks so much for stopping by Julie, Allison, and January. Didn't know why our covers looked so good, but makes sense. I also buy authors but like covers. A well-wrapped package makes a gift lok better, for sure. Rita

Ron said...

What grabs me in a book store? many things: author, topic, cover...and reviews I've read.
New to the ereader with my kobo and recently too busy to buy, but trying to catch the habit. Suspect the same things that lure me to a paper book.
And let's face it, a catchy cover can drag you over to a shelf, after that you are on your own...