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‘YOU CAN’T JUDGE A BOOK BY IT’S COVER…’, but what else can you do?

Posted on October 15, 2011

There are some authors who can sell large quantities of a book merely by their name but, for the rest of us, the odds are greatly in favour of the potential reader never having heard of you. When people go into bookstores, how do they choose a book, then? Well, the title and the cover are often all they have to go on. More of the title in a later post, but the cover is known by publishers to be very important in the psychology of buying. The predominant colour (blue, I believe, is regarded as most likely to induce a sale), the text type and size, the illustration… All these feed into the thoughts of a potential buyer or reader.

Thereafter, if the buyer is tempted, he or she will read the blurb (again, more of which later), but the most important thing, because it is the first thing, in enticing someone to buy your book is that cover.

How unfortunate, then, that you – the author – has no contractual control over that cover. You have no right to veto it, or to design it and then insist that the publisher use it. You may be shown the cover that they have decided to use, but it is purely a courtesy; tell them that you don’t like it, and they are obliged to take no notice.

It is yet another example of the impotence of authors in how their work reaches the readers.


Tags: The importance of book covers, the impotence of authors