21 June 2007

Book Covers

How important are book covers to you when choosing a book to buy or borrow from the library?

We all know covers are a personal taste issue, but do you feel it is an important issue or do you not care very much about the cover when buying a book?

Personally, I am a cover junkie. I take a great interest in covers, even on genres I don't read. I've been known to spend a long time in bookstores and that's because when admiring the good covers, I tend to start read the back blurb and the front pages with the author information, etc. Good covers draw me in.

(I'm also one of these people who likes to read author dedications, it gives me that feel-good feeling, knowing the author has support, because this business can be so lonely at times.)

But getting back to covers, I just received two covers for two of my books this week.

The first cover for Broken Hero, my WWII story, is spot on. The darker colours show the mood of those difficult years of the war. I had sent the artist at The Wild Rose Press images and other book covers to show her the look I was after. She listened and the end result was brilliant in my mind. I loved it. The artist managed to incorporate all my ideas. She got the WWII period just right and also used the small details I told her about, like the barbed-wire fences, which were stretched along the beaches of England, and plus the beach is featured a lot in the story because the heroine lives close to it. So I felt it would suit being on the cover. The artists also managed to make the heroine look like a woman from the 1940s with the hat and net.

The other cover I received was for my Australian historical, A Noble Place. This cover shows a completely different feel to the one above. A Noble Place is set in the Australian bush, where it's hot and dry. The earthy colours alluded to the pioneer times, the starkness of what the period was in the country. The horse is a clear factor to the story--the family builds a horse stud, but not only that, the image of the heroine standing with the horse, shows that she is the driving force of the story, of the family and of the business. The artist shows the heroines's lack of frilliness but the way she's dressed--sombre, no nonsense working clothes. She's a woman who knows what she wants. Also, she doesn't need to dress up like a peacock to attract a man. To me, the cover shows that the heroine is strong and self-reliant, but it also shows that having no man beside her, could mean she is ready to be loved.

Covers come in all colours, bright or they can be plain, cartoon-type or derived from a famous painting, crowded with images, or have just one image. They can even simply be blank with just writing on it. Sometimes the author has a say in what it looks like, sometimes not, but all covers are important and have a job to do--they must sell the book--or do they?

What's your opinion? Do you have a favourite or one you really dislike?