Can you judge a book by its cover?

A friend recently self published for the first time and one of the most interesting (and exciting) elements of what I saw of the process (beyond the actual writing) was choosing a book cover design.

She commissioned several artists, used a 'vote for your favourite' as publicity for her debut novel and went through a lot of previously unconsidered questions as to what she wanted. You can read more about her adventure here.

As writers, we can concentrate so much on the words on the page, creating and honing, that we often forget the importance of book cover design. To a browser in a book store, the look of a book is the thing that will first catch their eye. If they pick up our book, they'll probably turn next to the blurb, but that initial capture is purely visual.

The kind of book covers I like personally are very diverse. I find the covers of the Dark Towers novels by Stephen King to be quite eye catching.

But then I also like the simple design of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's Shadow of the Wind.

And I love the quirkiness of the Pratchett book covers and the artwork of Quentin Blake.

So what would I want on the book cover of my novel, Haven Falling? Well, I'd like something that summed up the setting - futuristic skyscrapers and old, red brick terraces. Magic would have to be signified, perhaps by the use of light orbs and some of the magical creatures that appear in my story. I'm not sure if I want the actual characters to figure, more a suggestion of their personalities.

by Dougal Waters
I daresay I'm getting ahead of myself here but hey, there's no harm in dreaming.

Further reading:

Yes, we really do judge books by their covers - Huffington Post
The importance of book cover design - Good Reads


  1. I'm just like you, I like all kinds of covers. I like colorful, mystical covers and simple covers. I just don't really like covers with a man's chest on it. And I always picture covers for my books. It's so much fun and then it helps you out when you have to give a cover artist ideas. :)

  2. Love your ideas for the cover. You need to start looking for someone who can make your ideas reality. Great fun :-)
    I love the Stephen King covers too.


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