Today’s guest post is by author, Emi Gayle, where she considers the importance and value of the relationship between a book, its blurb and its cover… Emi’s blog sites are two of the most visually dynamic we’ve come across, which demonstrates how she links images and books. It was the ‘Read or Not’ feature that first brought her to our attention.
Should we judge a book by its cover? Let’s find out!
I have a fascination with book covers. Yes, I really do. They are my first impression to a story and often to an author. I LOVE that the paperbacks I own color the shelves in my house. No, I don’t buy them anymore, now, I ‘collect’ them virtually, on my desktop shelves and on my Kindle.
It’s the same reason why the ‘art’ in my home is of my own creation — photos of my kids and family — though I own far more of them in digital format. I realized, recently, that I’ve always been this way. I picked books off the shelf at the library ages ago, not by the contents within but by the covers. I’ve always been entranced by the visual appeal, the connection a book makes just with my eyes.
I learn the same way. In a recent work conversation, I had to explain to someone why teaching by audio-only content doesn’t work. It’s because most people are visual. So when we teach through a combination of sight, sound and tactile experience, we learn better. But I learn best by seeing. Doing, yes, but seeing? Yes. Pictures really are worth a thousand words.
That may be why I became a photographer, to showcase life, as I see it or know it, as I experience it or live it, in a medium that pleases … of all people … me!
So … I decided, about four or five months ago, to take my obsession and use it to the advantage of others. Yep! Others. How do I do that? Why?
The ‘How?’ is with a series called “If you saw it, would you read it?” tagged with the hashtag #ReadorNot. I have very distinct criteria for the selection of books for this series.
First — the cover has to be the ‘thing’ that catches my eye. It has to. Why? Because in this day and age of technology, many readers don’t pick up a book by browsing at a bookstore or at a library. They browse online catalogs. There is no tactile feel with this anymore. It’s all visual. That cover has to ‘wow’ and if it doesn’t, for the genre that it’s in, it will not get reviewed further.
Second — the blurb. Some readers don’t read these for fear it will give away the story. Others are religious about reading them because it tells them whether they might like the book. I think the blurb has to fit the cover otherwise it will bring out an inconsistency with the viewer. If the cover is awesome and the blurb sucks, what’s that going to say about the content within? You see, the blurb is the second piece that a potential reader has access to without clicking further into a book.
Yes, Amazon has the “Look Inside” and that’s great, but if the cover and blurb don’t call to a reader, they aren’t going to take the next step and look inside. It’s all the ‘outside’ that gets a book from point 0 to point 1. If you’ve won over a reader there, the content and story take over.
Since I write under two pen names (Aimee Laine and Emi Gayle), I do my weekly #ReadOrNot post about adult and YA books respectively. I, obviously, have preferences when it comes to covers. I like bright colors, boldness, neat designs and in my favorite genres of paranormal, romance and urban fantasy. Does that mean I don’t look at other genres? Nope. If a cover catches my eye — if it makes me look twice, I may, in fact, review it.
So how do I do this review? First, I analyze the cover (that was what first took my attention, right?) Then I read the blurb and analyze it. After that, I compare the two. Do they match? Don’t they and answer the question why? or why not?
Very few books have been spot on – some so disconnected when I got to the blurb that I nixed it from my review. Many have been close. Some have been amazingly connected and I added the book right then to my To Be Read pile.
Why do I do this? For books that pull me in by their cover, I want to give them a shout out. It’s just a way of helping my fellow author, but doing it in a way that I hope will help others in their evaluation of a book as well as authors and publishers in their development of a book cover and blurb. If they don’t match, readers will notice and if the cover stinks, readers won’t even take notice.
In our age of technology, where the Internet is fast becoming the place to buy books and to share information about them, the covers and blurbs are remarkably important.
Want to know more? Check out the links!