I totally judge books by their covers - New York Times Bestselling Author, J. Sterling

I totally judge books by their covers

I HAVE to talk about book covers for a quick second. And this is coming purely from a READER'S viewpoint- which is what I totally am when i'm not writing...or being awesome (which I am ALL the time, so I have to fit the other stuff in- lol).

I love to read. It doesn't even have to be "THE.MOST.AMAZING.BOOK.IN.THE.WORLD." but I just have to enjoy the time I spent reading it. You know?
Maybe i'm a weird reader.
That's probably truer than I realize.

Moving on (have you ever noticed how easily distracted I am? Crying out loud...) - As a reader, the cover is the first thing I see/notice. The same way like when i'm out and if I see a guy- his outside is the first thing I notice..like his eyes, or his hair... Rahr.

Distracted again.

I have problems.

*Focus Jenn*
Book covers.
Right! Okay, so I notice a book cover first- and if that intrigues me enough, or really, let's just be honest here, if I think it's pretty, I will want to read the books' description. And that's where you'll either hook me or you won't. I'm either into the storyline, or i'm not interested. Vampires and werewolves- you lost me at Va... Not doubting that it's probably a great book, but I'm just not interested in those things anymore. (no offense really- i'm just into very specific types of storylines- haven't we already established that i'm weird? k, good. lol)

The whole point of this post is that I almost passed up on a really, really, really spectacular book because the cover was so flipping chaotic and crazy and made no sense to me! I almost couldn't get past it. I looked at it... didn't like it- read the description anyway... liked the description of the book... looked at the cover again... wondered wtf was going on with it... and said NO to grabbing it.. EVEN THOUGH IT WAS FREE!!!!!!!!


Let's just let that sink in for a minute.

Then said book was free again on another day. And I looked at it again... read the description... looked at the cover AGAIN... and clicked OKAY TO BUY. You know, the FREE book.

I got around to reading it and thought it was truly AMAZING! Super well written with characters and a storyline that flowed well, was easy to read and relate too, and should be read by pretty much everyone in the world who is a girl.

Oh yeah, AFTER I finished the book- the cover made total sense. I mean, it still was a mish mash of all sorts of things, but I knew what they were and I understood the relevance.

NOTE TO AUTHORS- if your cover only makes sense AFTER someone reads the book, you have a problem. Because your cover needs to make people WANT to read the book. And I've fallen victim to that- I mean, I thought my initial cover for In Dreams was pretty and "oh look how relevant it is to the story- where they're on the bench in the dreams and they are see through-ish cause they are only together in dream time, blah blah shutup" And it wasn't until I had a new cover designed (thank you goddess michelle) that I realized my cover didn't really GRAB anyone's attention. Sure, it was sort of pretty and calming and i'm sure everyone "got it" after they read the book, but it wasn't like HI! LOOK AT ME! I'M PRETTY AND NEAT AND HE'S A GHOST AND YOU WANT TO READ THIS BOOK DON'T YOU?! like it does now. At least I think it does now. :) But what the hell do I know?

So yeah. People- get your covers designed well (my cover designer rocks and she is super talented and you should use her). And you need to step out of your author box where you know everything that happens in the story so the cover only makes sense to you and anyone you've let read it before you've released it. You have to make readers WANT TO READ your book. It can't only make sense after. Cause you'll lose half the people in the meantime. Yes, your cover needs to be relevant to your story- don't mislead your readers, but still, don't also lose them completely before you even have them. :)

And while i'm on this topic. Okay, so i'm not REALLY on this topic, but i'm about to be- the whole misleading your readers thing...
When it comes to the product description, please make sure what you say your book is about, IS WHAT YOUR BOOK IS REALLY FREAKING ABOUT!!! ARGH, I want to swear here in so many bad ways, but this is a family blog. lol

I read a book a month or so ago because the description made the book sound like a fantasy book. And as I was reading it, and the fantasy was mentioned periodically, I kept waiting for the main character to go back to the place where the "supposed" fantasy had happened and experience it again... or have more fantasy time... or jump into the fantasy world already and swim around in there or something! But this book wasn't about that at all. It was more about mental issues and coping with loss and life. NOT AT ALL what the product description made it sound like.

And I found myself sort of pissed. Because I kept reading the book assuming that EVENTUALLY we would get to the freaking fantasy part of the story, where the stuff she thought she saw WAS real and we'd experience it. But we never did. Cause it wasn't real. And the main character was crazy, or mental, or something.

And I felt completely deceived. And mislead. And I'm not sure if the author did that on purpose, or if they just didn't know how to descibe the type of book they wrote in a way that would make it sound interesting?!?! BUT FOR PETES SAKE- you can't do that to people! You can't make it sound like it's a story about this 1 event when it's not about that at all. I felt like I completely wasted my time reading something I would never otherwise normally read. Not that it was even necessarily a horrible book, but when you go into it prepared for it to be one way and it is nothing like you have been lead to believe- well, it made it really hard for me to enjoy. In all honesty, had I known the subject matter, I would have never downloaded it and read it in the first place- totally not my thing.

It also sort of pissed me off as an author because i don't like things like misinformation, intentional deceit, lies... those things are bad. lol

I like good things...
Like happiness.
And laughter.
And warm days at the beach.

Oh yeah, I'm TOTALLY one of those girls...but that's another blog post for another time.

So yeah, what about you? Any good stories for me? :)


  1. Got it! Puppies on my next cover. Damn, why didn't I think of that before? ; )

    Agree with you about the descriptions. I would have been angry too if I'd read the book you describe. Sometimes in people's search and desire for a broad appeal, they step out a bit too far.

  2. Oh boy, you'd totally hate my books! Lol. I agree with you 100% though. That old thing about 'don't judge a book by it's cover' is bull. It's the first thing we judge so, as authors, we've got to get it right!

  3. Alan- LOL I only want a puppy on the cover if he's IN the book! hahaha

    Marissa- why? do your back descriptions LIE?!??!! LOL unfriending you! :)