“What’s the first thing we look at when we’re trying to find a book to read?”
That’s the question I asked a classroom of fourth graders. This is what they said in order:
The front cover.
The back cover blurb.
The excerpt inside the front cover.
The length of the book, and the size of the words.
Wow! Sound familiar?
I was astounded, not only because not one of them said pictures (we are talking kidlets here) but because they look for the exact same things, in roughly the same order as adults do. I know this because I asked my teacher friends the same thing at lunch. Yep, I do highly scientific research for my blog posts.
But I digress. This pattern of choosing books begins early in our reading development and lasts a lifetime. If we like a book by a certain author, we’ll continue to read their books, even if the front cover doesn’t do a whole lot for us. We know what to expect on the inside—well most of the time we do. We’ve all had those surprises—I won’t go there.
On second thought…I will. It really peeves me when I’m intrigued enough by a cover to buy the book, then discover the cover doesn’t accurately depict the contents. It feels like the old bait-and-switch. Grrrr.
Or, this just happened recently, I found the same book with three different covers on a well-known internet mass marketer. Why? I can put on a lovely new outfit, but it’s still the same me underneath—unfortunately. *Sigh.*
Now, where was I?
Oh, yeah … think about when you’re browsing the shelves for a book. It’s that front cover that piques your interest. You know it is. You pick it up, turn it over, and read the blurb on the back. The reverse is true too. I know if I don’t like a cover, for whatever reason, I’m not going to read the back blurb. No blurb, no buying.
Okay, maybe one time out of a hundred I’ll take a peek. I know some of you are thinking, “How Shallow.” Okay, so while I’m being shallow, I have a confession to make. I think the hero on the cover of my new Regency, The Viscount’s Vow, has a bit of a pinhead. Oh he’s handsome but that hair? Looks like Elvis in in the house, and it’s a Regency. Hmmm, there might be a story there…
Personally, I’m not fond of covers that don’t target the intended audience. For example, I don’t like historical covers that have computer generated characters, because to me, they’re not authentic. I can appreciate computer generated images more for science fiction or fantasy covers. That’s my personal preference though.
So, you have to pinky-swear to be honest here, when was the last time you bought a book without the cover influencing you—at all—the teeniest, tiniest bit? Collette is giving away a digital copy of THE VISCOUNTS VOW to one (1) lucky commenter who answers her cover question. Giveaway ends @12am est 9-29-13 with the winner announced shortly thereafter. Good luck y’all!
Thought y’all would enjoy the trailer for THE VISCOUNTS VOW & HIGHLANDER’S HOPE. Know how partial so many here are to Highlander’s….:)