“Never judge a book by its cover.” But of course we all do. The book cover, e-book covers included, is the first thing to capture our attention. Great back-cover copy is all well and good, but if you don’t have a cover that shouts “pick me up immediately,” the book never gets the opportunity to delight and entrance us. It’s very sad when a stock cover is slapped on a book all in the name of economy since it immediately says to the reader: “I’m part of the million hum drum, move along to a better one.”
Last weekend at Readers & ’Ritas, the fascination readers have with book covers was evident. During the Books That Keep You Up All Night panel discussion, all the participants agreed that one of the first things to make a book unforgettable is the cover. And even though we may not always remember a title or an author, we usually remember the cover. I thought I was the only one who did that: “You know, that book with the yellow dress,” or “the book with just a naked male torso” or “the book with the purple flower.” Remembering a cover also makes it much easier to find the book on physical or virtual shelf. Trust me, it’s true.
And another reason a cover is so fascinating to the point of distraction is when you see it everywhere. Last weekend I stared down at the #Rogue. Yes, you need the hashtag. The cover of Elizabeth Boyle’s latest novella Have You Any Rogues? graced the doors of our weekend venue and caused many a stop-look-gaze-and-ponder. It began with the installers who informed us “he’s not a bad looking guy” as they slowly and carefully unpeeled the #Rogue from his cardboard tube and put him up on the doors.
Then it was the volunteers who gathered around the door and tried to figure out who the guy on the cover was, did they have the book, was it in a series and what the reason was for the hashtag. In my defense, we’re trying to introduce some of our book club members to the social media revolution. So, the caption above the cover was an attempt to get our members to tweet using the hashtag. It caused some confusion, but it was a great learning opportunity.
Everyone at Readers & ’Ritas stopped and looked; our #Rogue never just blended into the woodwork. So that cover and poster did its job. And fortunately, by Tuesday, the novella was available to download. It was a nice reward for those of us who spent time concocting our own story of who the rogue was and what he did in order to be labeled a rogue. Was he the bad-boy type who just needs a good woman, or was he labeled a rogue because he isn’t accepting of the norm? Or, was it possible he had a sense of humor and liked joking around and picked up the label inadvertently? We’ve all seen jokes backfire; maybe his was truly atrocious. This does happen even in Regency London. The book cover inviting all of us to come up with a story to attach to it.
I was asked repeatedly if Have You Any Rogues? was a good book, since I must have read the book, right? Well, I hadn’t before last weekend, but as soon as I got home, I downloaded the book and remedied the situation. So, what was all the hubbub about?
Elizabeth Boyle’s Have You Any Rogues? (Avon Impulse; November 12, 2013) is a bridge novella in her Rhymes with Love series and tells the story of Crispin, Viscount Dale, and Lady Henrietta Seldon. Their families have been enemies for decades, so the story has the Romeo and Juliet aspect, plus these two characters introduced in The Miss Ran Away With The Rake (Avon, March 2013) obviously had a story to tell. The pair has been fighting off their mutual attraction forever, but one night being trapped in a wine cellar provides the opportunity to culminate their romance. Let me say, it all lives up to the billing and packaging and you won’t be disappointed.
The next novel in the Rhymes with Love series is scheduled for release at the end of 2013, in time to add it to your holiday purchases. If Wishes Were Earls (Avon; December 31, 2013) is a Regency historical involving lovers who both try to capture their happiness even against the odds, which includes a murder. Boyle always gives her readers great characters, humor and a wonderful romp. So be brave alongside the #Rogue and add both to your e-reader.
What does a cover do for you? Are there any memorable ones, good or bad, you still talk about? Let me know here or on Facebook.
Sara Reyes is the founder and partner at FreshFiction.com, a popular fiction website for today's reader with new titles, contests, over 50,000 genre fiction author profiles with backlists, and permanently archived reviews, plus all the industry buzz. Fresh Fiction has a biweekly segment (Buy the Book) on WFAA Channel 8 Good Morning Texas to talk about new books not to miss. Believing face-to-face interaction is as important as virtual communities, Fresh Fiction sponsors an annual author reader tea in June, a readers conference in November, monthly literary events, and book clubs. Follow Sara at @FreshFiction on Twitter or Facebook.com/FreshFiction.