Thursday, 12 September 2013

Month of Guests 2013: A Daydreamer's Thoughts

I'm super excited to have the awesome Faye from A Daydreamer's Thoughts here today, talking all about covers!  :D

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts was founded on September 15th 2011. It is a blog that consists of book reviews, film reviews, book articles, film articles, author interviews, guest posts, features, and memes. It is run by Faye who enjoys the task immensely and is always happy to communicate with her followers.

Before I start this post, I just want to thank Megan for hosting me on The Book Addicted Girl today. I really enjoyed writing this post and I hope that it is at least slightly entertaining for you. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the posts for the Fortnight of Guests!

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is an incredibly famous phrase but one that I struggle to follow, or even fully understand. The cover is the first thing you will ever see of a book and graphic designers can spend weeks, or even months, working on book jackets to make sure that they are absolutely perfect. So who are we to ignore that cover that someone has slaved over? Especially when the cover is supposed to be the first indication of what we should expect to see in the book.

By this, I mean that the cover actually does tell you a lot about the story it holds. Graphic designers work hard to create covers that are similar to other books within the same genre so as to appeal to the right target audience. They work to create a book that is appealing to the eye and brings people to pick up the book. So with that in mind, of course we’re going to judge books by their covers, we’re actually required to as that is how it is supposed to happen.

For example, you could look at the very first design of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and know instantly that it is a book aimed at children. It has an animation on the front of a young boy in front of a train. You can see that you’re likely to get a book with adventure and maybe a little mystery. You also know straight away it will be fantasy as the train has “Hogwarts Express” on it and that was not a well-known train when it was first published. There is no indication on that book cover that adults would also like the book; that was just something that simply happened and that is why adult covers of these books were released – to appeal to a different target audience.

So when I mention that I do judge books on their covers, I rarely feel guilty about it because in my opinion, we really should be doing so. But just not in the way that the phrase has been taken to mean these days. A cover can’t tell you about the quality of the writing inside the story, it cannot reveal that the plot is slow and bland, or that actually it deserves a more appealing cover because the story is so intensely brilliant that the cover doesn’t do the book justice. But a cover is supposed to tell you something about the story, or else there would never be a need for covers – and there never used to be, have you ever seen a leather-bound book? They all simply had the title and author on the spine.

Despite all of this, covers are also a very large marketing tool. Have you ever noticed a trend in book cover designs? Either from lots of different authors or just for the same author? If publishers can see that a certain book is selling well, they can know that people are more likely to pick up a book with a similar looking cover rather than one that is completely different. In their minds, they know they liked a book with a similar cover and would rather believe they’ll also enjoy another story with a similar cover – because it should reveal genre – then picking something different up entirely. And that is why last year, a lot of covers were black with just one image on, like the Twilight covers, and this year why so many books are coming out with large pieces of silver jewellery on – like Fifty Shades. Now, personally, I think this can have a damaging effect, especially when the books are not similar to their cover counterparts, but there is no denying that these books sell, it just may not always be to their target audience.

But perhaps you disagree? Is it wrong to judge a book by its cover, no matter how you do it? Do you believe there is no such thing as a trend in covers? Or do you think it reveals something else entirely? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter.


Thank you so much for your brilliant post, Faye! I'm with you - covers are important.  I'm more likely to pick up a book with an awesome cover than something that's just dull and meh.  And, proving the insane childishness of my brain, I really prefer the kid's Harry Potter cover!! ;)
Hope you all enjoyed Faye's post! And don't forget to follow Faye's Blog: A Daydreamer's Thoughts, follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads! :D
And keep up to date with MonthOfGuests on Twitter using #MonthOfGuests2013! And stop by tomorrow for a brilliant post by the wonderful Jenny from Supernatural Snark!!  Oh, and Megan from Paperbook Princess the day after - she's listing her fave covers!! :D


Hollie said...

I don't think it's wrong to judge a book by it's cover - I think it's very hard not to do so! I know I do it, regardless of whether I want to read the book or not! There's definitely a trend when it comes to book covers, like you pointed out with the Fifty Shades-esque covers. It's not necessarily a bad thing, unless, as you said, the book with a similar cover is nothing like the original best seller. Brilliant post Faye! :)

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's wrong either . . . keep in mind that a lot of times the author has no or little say in their cover. I happen to LOVE mine, so when the publisher asked if I wanted to switch it up and do a new one with the release of my sequel, I declined. Now, I don't not pick up a book if I don't like the cover if the blurb still interests me, but I may just get the e-book instead of the paperback b/c I don't care to have it on my shelf. Hmmm, is that wrong?