Yeah, right. I wish. In today’s society, that’s pretty much all we do. It may seem shallow, but this snap judgment is actually linked to a survival mechanism, especially in the past when we had saber tooth tigers and giant sloths. But even today (when our biggest predator is other people), in order to stay alive, a person has to make quick decisions about any new stimulus or object. Is it safe or dangerous? Can I stick around or should I get out of Dodge?
Nobody wants to end up getting eaten.
Well, the same goes for book covers. In the publishing world, the book cover is very important for drawing in potential buyers. That cover has to look good, it has to grab people’s attention. A picture of a grasshopper probably won’t pull the potential reader in. Have a grasshopper with a top hat and cane…now that might do something for people.
Which doesn’t say much for our taste.
I would rather that people judged things by what’s on the inside, whether we’re talking about another person or a book or whatever. I would rather we didn’t have war or pain, too. But, like everybody else in this challenging world, I want to survive. So I’m going for that eye candy cover.
I’ll admit it, I judge a book by its cover. I figure that if the outside is dark or spooky or eerie or weird, that the story inside will appeal to me. However, just to show that I’m not too terribly shallow, I will also pick out books with plain covers. Usually, though, those books are already proven classics, recommended by someone else, or I am desperate for something to read.
So here’s my advice: If you plan on self-publishing your own book, pay the money to have someone who does this for a living make your book cover for you (unless you also do that kind of thing for a living or you’re an artist who knows how to do stuff on the computer). Case in point… I asked my sister to do a drawing for my book as a potential book cover. I love the drawing. Unfortunately, as novices, we didn’t get the dimensions right, plus we had to scan it into the computer and it lost clarity in the process. The colors probably weren’t as bright and vivid as they need to be in this shiny, happy world of ours, either. In the end, I went with my publisher’s book cover, which I love, too, and I put my sister’s drawing on my website (see my homepage). All was not lost. Now I have two great pictures to represent my book.
To sum up… Pick a good cover for your book, be kind to strangers, and keep it green.