Saturday, January 07, 2006

Can you judge a book by the cover?

Trace's book cover kicks ass! If you haven't seen it yet, you must check it out.

I'm sure you guys have all heard the old saying, "You can't judge a book by its cover." But is that really true?

I think a good book cover can give the book atmosphere. Check these out. I think you get a pretty good sense, especially from Cue the Dead Guy, of the author's quirky wit. (Love that book.)

But what is it about a cover that makes you want to get that book, to pull it down from the shelf and read the back jacket?

Trace's cover art really impressed me, because it's very fitting to her story and her protagonist. It isn't always easy to come up with a cover concept that communicates as much as hers does.

Though I have to admit, my shelves are filled with books that have covers that don't really have much to do with the story. They're moody, atmospheric more than anything. Occasionally you get one that's right on the money, like A Good Day To Die.

Whenever I ask questions, nobody answers me but I'm going to ask anyway. What, to you, is important in a book cover? Favourite book covers? Or share about why James is creepy and what Stuart got up to in the nun's outfit.

Did you guys see that the old bugger has given up alcohol until LCC? If you haven't booked yet, you should now, just to see John in drag dancing on tables. Hope he shaves his legs.


Dana Y. T. Lin said...

I don't care for book covers unless I'm browsing around a bookstore or a library looking for a gift for someone.

I don't like bloody scenes on the cover because if I'm reading late at night I don't want to fall asleep then wake up with that in my face - I'd get nightmares.

(Yes, I'm a big chicken)

I don't care for Fabio-type covers either.

Other than that, I'm open.

M. G. Tarquini said...

What's LCC. I went and spammed your friend's blog. It's a great book cover. I'm with Dana on the Fabio and bloody book coverss. I never read 'the seven minutes' (was that the title) because of the book cover. I chose 'How We Die' by Nuland for the cover. That stark black on white combined with the title did it for me. I recovered it though, so nobody would know what I was reading. No way I'd have that cover visible in a children's hospital. Any fantasy with a fantasy looking cover makes me put it back on the shelf. I really like the cover on Cornelia Reads book. Makes me think there's something pithy between the covers. For suspense, sppooky, creepy, whatever, I like stuff that looks creepy without looking gory.

See, two answers. The Bunions are behind you, Sandra!

Stuart MacBride said...

Someone I know I like to read can have a crap cover and I'll still buy the book. But if the book's by someone I don't know then it better have a bloody good cover. I probably won't pick it up otherwise.

And having been a graphic designer doesn't help - makes me a lot more critical when I think someone's fallen asleep on the job.

I am shallow man.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Thanks for the news flash Stuart!

But you didn't tell me which covers you like. It's just like talking to evil Kev.

Sandra "Do you think we should have chicken or pasta for dinner?"

Kevin "I'm hungry, when are we eating?"

Sandra "When you bloody well answer the frickin' question!"


R.J. Baker said...

Covers are great but I have some really attractive books on my shelves that sucked.

They didn't live up to the cover and I felt cheap and used...

Where have all the good authors gone?

Sandra Ruttan said...

What pisses me off is that blogger ate my reply to Dana and MG. Damn thing.

Of course, I'm not happy if a book fails to live up to the hype or the cover, r.j. All the good authors must be bloggin!

And I got the "spooky not gory" sentiment - I agree.

John R. said...

MG -- Left Coast Crime. Crime fiction convention usually held in the US but coming over to the UK this year.

I'm with Stuart on the covers front. The UK cover to Chuck Palahniuk's 'Haunted' looked like shite - the US one was much better - but it didn't matter to me because I'm a Chuck P fan.

And yup, Sandra, chances are I'll be a phenomenal lightweight by the time March rolls around. But on the other hand, the less I have to drink to get drunk, the smaller the hangovers will be. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it...

Sandra Ruttan said...

I'm sorry I won't be there to see it!

Then again, maybe it's better this way...

Anonymous said...

Sandra, I especially like covers which give a hint at the setting. Quasi-realistic painting are the best for me, or maybe a photo with an artistic quality to it. I agree that the mood is essential. The other alternative is a simple cover. Just the title and maybe a graphic, like The Wheelman by Duane I-don't-feel-like-looking-up-his-name-to-spell-it-ski.

Trace said...

Thanks, Sandra! I love my cover!