Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Can We Judge a Book by Its Cover? By Diana Flegal

According to Wikipedia, the first mention of the quote, “You can’t tell a book by its cover” is from George Elliot's The Mill on the Floss (1860). Mr. Tulliver uses the phrase in discussing Daniel Defoe's The History of the Devil, saying how it was beautifully bound.

A lot of self published titles have flooded the market. One giveaway to me that a book might be self-published and a risky quality read for me is when I am scrolling down Amazon’s list and spot poor quality cover art. Even small royalty presses are guilty of saving money in this area. 

Too bad.  A beautiful cover and a fitting title make a BIG difference in helping me choose what books I will purchase and even represent. 


One submission title that crossed my desk and I loved right away was: Messiah to the Messed Up by Sue Ciullo (pronounced chew-low). I can so relate. Can’t you?

A cover needs to declare what the book is about. It can not be so esoteric that it leaves the agent, editor, or reader guessing. 

How about this fun title?
Cake, Love, Chickens, and a Taste of the Peculiar by Joyce Magnin
This is a middle reader book that tops the list of my favorite all time reads. I think any lover of story would enjoy this one. It fulfills the promise of it's title.

Most recently this Zondervan title grabbed my eye: Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist. It is as wonderful as I had hoped; filled with stories of communion; family and friends gathered around a table. Such a holy thing.

A few others on my shelf:

When The Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box by John Ortberg
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
Wild at Heart by John Eldridge (I know it is supposed to be for guys!)
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Firefly Summer by Maeve Binchy
Land Sakes by Margaret Graham (A favorite expression of my Grandmothers).

What titles or book covers grabbed you and didn’t let go?


Wendy L. Macdonald said...

Diana, I agree that a book cover speaks loudly, and can even shout,"Pick me." I'm not likely to be motivated to pick up an ugly duckling unless word-of-mouth says there's a swan inside.

Recently I bought a thick mystery paperback from a used bookstore just because it features a deliciously charming cottage and garden on the front cover. If the writing matches it, I'll be pleased. But in the meantime I leave it out where I can see it--I want a beautiful cover when I've written a beautiful book.

An example of one that I've read that lives up to its elegant appearance is Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. It has a castle in the background with an intriguing lady walking across the expansive lawn in front of it.

Great post.

Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

Linda Glaz said...

I agree that a cover is often the diff between a sale and no sale. Great post.