Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Grace-filled Tuesdays (Book Club "Meeting" #7): Judging a Book by Its Cover
Just as I hope this book club won't be judged by that amateurish meme, I hope my books won't be judged by their covers. Or maybe I hope they will. (That depends on whether people like them or not!)
Covers are important. An appealing cover gets a would-be reader's attention. I know that I myself have discovered more literary gems--some that I'd never even heard of before--at Barnes & Noble, just by randomly perusing the covers and picking up the ones that appeal to me. If I like the cover design, I'll flip to the book's back cover; and if the synopsis and endorsements make it sound promising, I'll often buy it.
Here's an example of a book that I judged by its cover; and it turned out to be one of my favorite books ever:
I have only gotten one negative comment about that cover, from Victoria Gisondi, who reviewed Finding Grace for CatholicFiction.net. Victoria had many positive things to say about the novel, but of its cover she said: My only aesthetic concern is the book cover which I fear would be passed over in a book store or library. A more modern cover, in the style of teen novels today, would better appeal to the book’s target audience. Perhaps a sharp-looking photograph of the same subject matter...would fare much better than the amateurish drawing that was used. (You can read the full review here.)
Another reader said that the pastel innocence of the cover artwork made her think it might be appropriate for her middle school-aged daughter, but when she read the book she realized that only an older teen would be ready for some of the difficult themes included in the story.
So although I'm rather fond of its cover, as far as Finding Grace goes I guess the jury is still out on whether or not it would have benefitted from a different sort of look. However, I am convinced that the cover of Erin's Ring suits it to a T.
I love that this cover has so much green in it, like the Emerald Isle itself. I love that although it evokes a long-ago era, it has a modern CGI (computer-generated-image) quality to it, which I believe is particularly attractive to discerning younger readers.
When I visited Queen of Angels Catholic school in May, to speak with a wonderful group of 4th-graders about Erin's Ring, several of the kids commented on the cover. One of them asked me why I chose that particular image, and I told them that the publisher actually chose it, but that it is exactly what I would have chosen myself. One asked me which scene in the book it's supposed to portray, and when I told them that I immediately thought of Ann and Seamus' big night when I saw it, several of the kids said that's the scene they thought of as well. One boy commented that the artwork has the high-tech look of a Pixar animated movie. I agreed, and in turn asked the class if they liked that about it--which they did. Long story short, I think my publisher did a bang-up job of coming up with a cover that would resonate with the book's target audience.
Now I'll ask you: do you like the cover of Erin's Ring? Do you find it eye-catching? Do you think it represents the story well? Do you like the CGI effect, or do you think a more traditional painted scene would have suited it better?
Okay then, meeting adjourned. Until we meet again, may you be showered with many graces.