I do judge a book by its cover – not always a good thing. Sometimes I’ve been very wrong about a book because of the cover. Take The Book Thief by Markus Zusak for example. I bypassed that book dozens of times in my local bookshop. No amount of ‘5 Star Review’ / ‘Guaranteed Great Read’ stickers would sway me – that ‘grim reaper’ cover and the gothic font spoke volumes (not volumes I wanted to hear). Then it was selected by my book group. I borrowed someone’s copy, dragging my heels all the way. I read it. I loved it. I mean, I really loved it. So much so that I began pressing it on other people to read.
I was also interested to hear Carrie Tiffany talk about the various covers her thoroughly Australian novels are given in the US, the UK and Europe – what works for one country doesn’t necessarily work for another. Whatever artwork is chosen still has to represent the book – Tiffany admitted that she struggled with this to a certain extent as some of the cover art used didn’t appeal to her (but publishers took over!).
Which is why I was interested in Talking Covers, a blog where authors, designers and publishers talk book jackets. It’s all very new but I suspect it will be wonderfully revealing as more posts are added.