Smart Girls Read Romance

Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog. Join them as they dish about Books, Romance, Love, and Life.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

CAN YOU TELL A BOOK BY ITS COVER?

By Morgan Mandel, guest author

I believe you can and should be able to tell a book by its cover. However, for various reasons that doesn’t always happen. Unfortunately, there are perfectly wonderful books out there which go unnoticed. That’s because their covers don’t match what the author delivers.
The books that are noticed are the ones with covers that promise readers exactly what they’re looking for, with no guessing involved. In this fast-paced world, most readers are looking for instant gratification. They want to know immediately if a book is a genre they like. If they can’t tell right away, it’s easy enough for them to pass that one by in favor of another which fits the role.
My romantic comedy, Girl of My Dreams, is still my most popular book. I believe I owe that mainly to its cover. Without it, the book would not get a second look. From the girl’s outfit, right away you can tell it’s a contemporary novel. From the girl’s jaunty pose, and the use of pastels, you can guess it’s a lighthearted read. Yes, there are tense moments in the story, but all in all, I believe the book lives up to readers’ expectations.


For my romantic suspense, Killer Career, I chose black and red colors. The girl’s expression is grim. She’s holding file folders, which hints at her occupation as an attorney. I could have reinforced the romantic element by placing a couple on the cover, but the focus of the story is on the mystery or thriller aspect.


Now, some authors think it’s a good idea to mislead readers by enticing them to read a book which turns out to be quite different than its cover. That might work in the short-run, but it’s a very bad idea. Readers have good memories, and will remember the deception. A torrid love scene on a cover emphasizes hot romance. Vintage clothing hints at an historical setting. A kitten and a cute building might promise a cozy mystery. You get the idea. The point is the cover should match what’s inside.
Can you think of novels with great covers that live up to their promise? Or, maybe some that don’t?
Thanks for hosting me today at Smart Girls Read Romance!
Morgan Mandel


Morgan Mandel, Author

Morgan is a former president of Chicago-North Romance Writers of America, and former library liaison for Midwest Mystery Writers of America.
Her ever popular Girl of My Dreams, is a reality show romance; and her more recent romantic comedy, Her Handyman, features a handyman, a rich, quirky artist, and a crazy canine whose toy lands in the toilet. Morgan’s presently working on a sequel to Her Handyman, called A Perfect Angel.
Morgan’s romantic suspense, Killer Career, about a lawyer’s dangerous career change, and Two Wrongs, Morgan’s debut mystery, are both set in Chicago.
For all of Morgan’s books, see http://morgansbooklinks.blogspot.com and her Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/morganmandel.

Connect with Morgan at: her websiteblogFacebook Page, and on Twitter @MorganMandel.     

24 comments:

  1. Interesting blog! I never thought about the cover of a book being the deciding factor. The cover "grabs" you and the story "feeds" you. I will pay more attention to covers in the future!

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    1. I admit to being guilty of first looking at the cover, the going further!

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  2. Thanks for inviting me to your blog today, Caroline!

    Morgan Mandel

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  3. Good points. I look at at covers but it's the blurb that hooks me or not. A great cover is a great draw, however. GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie

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    1. If I cover doesn't match the blurb, I often pass on a book.

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  4. Good point on covers often being the deciding factor on willingness to read! I think I'd add "Smart men read romance" as well. Romance novels are far more diverse and interesting than what most men give them credit for.

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    1. Unfortunately, many men don't give romance novels a chance.

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  5. The cover definitely grabs my attention first, along with the title and genre. Then I'll check out the blurb and first page or two. You're right Morgan, that it must all fit together to get me to buy it!
    Thanks for sharing - your covers are great!
    Stephanie Queen

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  6. Morgan,
    I look at the cover, but never really thought about it being genre specific. I'm more of a blurb,and a couple of pages person.

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    1. Unless the cover is inappropriate, we can usually tell what type of book it will be, as far as genre. Whether it's good or not requires a bit of reading!

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  7. Covers draw me in or turn me off. I'm a visual sort of person--I need to see something to make it interesting. But Morgan, go to Amazon's Top 100 paid books, and you won't see many good covers. Most are downright ugly and don't tell me a thing. So, how do they get up there? Still, I have a firm believer in the right cover. You're right.

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  8. Celia, that's very strange. I'll have to take a look at the top 100. Most be another secret I've missed.

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  9. Hi Morgan! That old saying about "Don't judge a book by it's cover" is out the window, these days, isn't it? With all the social media and electronic books, etc. the cover is the first thing people see, even before the title, a lot of times, or the author. Like Celia, I'm a visual person, and I need to see it. I knew a woman one time who only liked dark-haired heroes. I loaned her a paperback book of mine with a picture of a blond guy on the front of it, and she called and asked me if I would mind if she took a sharpie and made his hair black. LOL I said, Sure. Whatever works. LOL

    Very interesting post!
    Cheryl

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    1. Another old saying - Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Chery!

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  10. Hi, Morgan. Fancy running into you here. I've always thought your cover for Girl of my Dreams was perfect. It's fun, conveys the story, and is memorable--everything a good cover should be. I love looking at book covers, and I too think you should be able to judge a book by its cover.

    I thought I'd comment on men reading romance. A lot more of them do now that they can do it on an ereader so others don't see the covers. I actually have a lot of men readers, and I get emails from them.

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    1. Interesting observation, Joan. I hadn't thought of that aspect. When my new publisher created new covers for my novels that reflected a Vintage cowgirl theme, I was afraid that I would lose my male readers. But maybe I won't! Thanks!
      Good post, Morgan!

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  11. Hi Joan, I'm glad you like the Girl of My Dreams Cover. So far, it's my favorite, probably because readers seem to really like it! About men reading romances, I wouldn't know. My DH only reads Facebook!

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    1. *LOL* And my husband only reads industry-related stuff and listens to audiobooks like Lee Child, et al.

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  12. This is something that I had to consider with my last novel as I branched into yet another genre. Love your books and this one describes it perfectly.

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  13. Morgan, I SO agree! The cover must match the book content or your reader will feel cheated. (Yours does!)

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  14. I'm a freelance editor, and I work with a lot of authors who agonize over the artwork for their books. A badly composed cover can really turn off a more sophisticated reader. In my opinion, it's worth the money to hire your own book cover artist if your publisher doesn't use people who can do it the way it should be done. I love a good cover!

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  15. Cover art is extremely important. I agree that it's wrong to mislead readers. They know what they want to read. Our books have to represent honestly to build the right readership.

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