Go Ahead, Judge a Book By Its Cover

Let’s talk about book covers today.

“But, Becky,” you ask. “Why? Why are we talking about book covers today?”

Thanks for playing right into my devious segue. On Monday, March 23 I get to finally reveal the cover for Puzzling Ink, the first in my Crossword Puzzle Mysteries to be published in November!

I really love it, and I hope you guys do too. It’s only going to be revealed in two places, though, so if you want to see it early, you need to join Becky’s Book Buddies on Facebook (don’t forget to answer the question that unlocks the magic door), and/or subscribe to my “So Seldom It’s Shameful” newsletter mailing list.

Puzzling Ink cover reveal teaser

Because Puzzling Ink is being published by Kensington, their designers did the cover, but I had a bit of input.

I recently independently published a book about writing so that cover was all me. Well, not all me … I hired a designer but it was my vision. Although we went back and forth so many times, the lines between whose idea was whose has definitely blurred!

8Weeks front cover

You cannot believe—or maybe you can—how much I agonized over using the number “8” versus the word “Eight” in the title.

The title and the cover need to match exactly, so I really had to decide. In the end, while there were some fun design things that could be done with an “8,” I simply couldn’t bring myself to have to type the title beginning with a number. That goes against every single thing I learned about grammar in ninth grade.

I’m very happy with how it turned out.

But you never really think about book covers until you have to, yanno, think about book covers. When my editor asked for my suggestions for Puzzling Ink, my mind went blank. But then I closed my eyes and tried to see it in my head. I’m thrilled it’s so similar to the final version, because it would be tough luck if I hated it. Most book contracts specifically say even if they ask for input, it’s their decision alone.

These are some non-cozy covers that appeal to me, for reasons I can’t even articulate. What do you think? Do they appeal to you? What about them do you like or dislike? Are you drawn to cozies because of or despite their covers?


20 thoughts on “Go Ahead, Judge a Book By Its Cover

  1. Covers are tricky things, aren’t they? And what appeals to one person somethings doesn’t appeal to others.

    Since I’m not a great artist type of guy (seriously, I can’t even figure out how to present spreadsheets well), I am glad I don’t have to wrestle with all of that.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I love hearing from authors all the little things they snuck into their covers, like you with your pooch and the plantations. I will tell you that the first version of the Puzzling Ink cover had the char wearing glasses. Just a little thing, but I aaaagonized over it. “Did I say she did? Did I say she didn’t? Does it matter?” Argh!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Love your cover for Eight Weeks, and can’t wait to read it for some writing inspiration! And, already having been lucky enough to have a sneak peak at the new Crossword Puzzles Mysteries ms, I can’t wait to see the cover to go with this terrific new book.

    As for covers, I’m a very visual person, so they’re very important for me. And I love, LOVE the dog cover for E.J. Copperman’s book that you posted.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Yay for upcoming book cover reveal! Can’t wait to see it.

    Think you made the right choice re: starting with “Eight” instead of 8. *adjusts English teacher glasses*

    I’m so excited for your new series, and I loved EIGHT WEEKS. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ohmygosh, thank you! I honestly pictured Mrs Peak, the woman who taught me all about grammar in 9th grade, every time I tried to type in “8 Weeks” or realized I might have to start a sentence with a numeral ….. well, I guess I don’t have to tell you how sweaty my palms got!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Covers are very important because they are the first sales pitch for a book. It certainly is not the only selling tool, but I have purchased books after the cover caught my eye. I then investigated the book and found that it was something I wanted, all because the cover drew me in.

    With the market for online book sales increasing, the cover must also have details that show up in those “tiny” thumbnail images, so that is an additional challenge. Many times covers are designed by staff who do not know the author or the book, so it is up to authors to monitor and review (if possible) the cover to be sure it really says something about the book behind it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re exactly right, Katie. On the covers I make for myself, I shrink them down to one inch and see if I can still read the title. I don’t care if my name or the design aspects are visible, but that title better be! In a print catalog or online they’re that small and still need to be impactful. When I was looking for some ‘best practices’ articles so i wouldn’t forget anything, I stumbled on this blog that was titled something like “Gorgeous Useless Covers.” And I’ll tell you what … they were! You couldn’t read some of them, you couldn’t tell genre, but they were works of art.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I love to (literally) judge books by their covers, and I’m judging EIGHT WEEKS (drum roll please): awesome–just like its insides. Fantastic book!! Now I’m awaiting the cover reveal for PUZZLING. Eeep!!

    I’m a sucker for thought-provoking/interesting cover design. We actually have an award-winning cover design studio right here in li’l ol’ Bend. I regularly fan girl over their work. (happy sigh)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Kathy, and LOL to the literal judging of books. We can’t help it. It’s human nature. The same way we tend not to go into sketchy looking restaurants, or thinking if someone dresses nicely they’re “good people.” I don’t think I’ve ever NOT picked up a book because of a bad cover, as long as the title or blurb or author or topic interested me. OTOH, I know I’ve read turrrrrible books with lovely covers. So … *shrug*

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For sure! And although I often reach for a book based on its cover (and I’m strictly talking books here–although I sometimes do the same with wine labels!), it’s the back cover copy that reaaaaaaally draws me in. I’ve definitely loved books with covers that aren’t my absolute faves. Your books have everything I adore, from the inside out!

        Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s true that people have different opinions on the same cover. I can tell you that when an art director starts showing first versions of covers around her publishing house, she has to gird herself for all kinds of reactions, not entirely positive. The author usually gets to see it last. Sometimes the AD will make a simply awful cover one of the choices, so people will direct all the negative comments to that one. Pretty funny, huh? But your new cover is undeniably awesome, Becky!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s actually a genius ploy! It’s kinda like asking for a pony when all you really want is a kitten. Your keen eye for the print cover was a godsend, btw. Every suggestion stellar! So thanks all around!

      Liked by 1 person

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