How many times have you heard, “Never judge a book by it’s cover”? But we do, don’t we? I mean, realtors talk about ‘curb appeal’, job coaches beat ‘first impressions’ into their clients’ heads and don’t even get me started on the overuse of PhotoShop in the marketing industry. It’s one of those facets of human nature; we are going to have an automatic response to any visual. So, in the spirit of embracing our humanness let’s judge these books by their covers.

First, title is VERY important. It’s like naming your child, you have to go through every possible ‘bullying’ scenario. Growing up I always loved the name Grant for my future baby boy. When I married my husband with the last name Brant I had to give up that name for obvious reasons. Naming your book is just as important. This author apparently did not say this title out loud:

a165_b2Of course, we all know the Disney character Winnie the Pooh and with his picture right on the cover we get what this book is about, but if you are scrolling through a list of book titles without the visual? Well, let’s just say the visual is a little different!



Sometimes titles can be long and unclear. Take this book for example:


At first glance it may seem that the horses are lesbians and these are their stories. But the two women give it away. Not judging either the horse’s or women’s lifestyle choices but the title is a bit confusing. Not to mention a little awkward. I mean, who stands like that one on the left?




Second, when choosing a cover for your book, don’t confuse the potential reader by having the cover art not match the title. For example:

rebel's spirit

The title of this romance is Rebel’s Spirit. It is about a sassy high school senior that drives her male teacher crazy (eewwwwww) and then returns to town ten years later to send him over the edge. First, the premise of the book is a little sketchy but we’re discussing covers. I’m not quite sure of the gigantic strawberry she is dangling over his head. An apple would be a better choice since he’s her teacher (eewwwww).

Okay, so maybe the title fits the book in that she is rebelling against her parents by feeding this much older man genetically modified strawberries.

This is an example of a cover committing ‘story-cide’. I will give you a gold star if you can 1) tell me if the title or author is Faith and 2) tell me the genre of the book. Go on, I’ll wait…


The author’s name is Anj. Faith is the name of the book. But it isn’t clear. I had a friend named Faith in college. (She is the gracious one that lent me her $15,000 wedding dress for my wedding. I like the name Faith. :-)) A simple ‘by’ would have cleared up confusion.

Okay, so did you guess what the book is about? Well, did you guess Mystery? Yep, it’s a mystery. And get this – a Romantic Mystery. Huh, I didn’t get that. I’m sure the book is good, it got good reviews, but I never in a million years would I have bought it.

So, now I am looking at examples for my first book’s cover. My book is a Romantic Suspense with the heroine, Solia saving the day. She’s CIA covert ops. She’s got a Glock. My hero, Jason is a sexy nerd who has been burned in the past and wants nothing to do with the government. There is conflict and emotions. I want my cover to reflect that, but don’t want it to be about a naked man’s chest with the heroine draped all over him. My Solia would have Jason in a choke hold on the ground before she would cling to him with wild abandon.

I definitely want a female (probably no head, just lower body shot) with a gun and maybe some vague science lab equipment faded in the background. Not sure how to or if I should put Jason in there. Something kind of like Maya Banks’ book:

9780425263778_p0_v2_s260x420I want my name in big bold letters (seriously, who doesn’t?) and a smart tag line on the front.  I do want the reader to get a sense that it’s a romance as well. Thank goodness the fine publisher I contracted with has a great cover art department. After I submit my Cover Art Form to them we can see what they come up with.

So, do you judge a book by it’s cover?

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