I can’t help it. I totally judge books by their cover. I also cringe when people take this phrase literally. Really it is a idiom meant to talk about how we should not judge people at first glance. But books, books are absolutely fair game and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.
People have been spending a good deal of time talking about the effect of e-publishing on the industry and I am not going to pretend that I am an insider. But I am a consumer, and since the acquisition of my ColorNOOK in May, I am now a consumer of the dreaded ebook. I could flap over how they will never replace paper and binding for me but that is for another Thursday. I could talk about how every self-published ebook out there could do with a lovely editor, not a proofreader but an editor. But that too can wait for another week. I could talk about how I know of at least two recent authors who went to bat with their publishers over covers. They went to bat becuase they or their fan base or both thought covers so important they could possibly make or break the book. But mostly I want to help all of you struggling writers who are trying so hard to break into the self-publishing game.
Here is the deal. I admit that I have RSSed the free book lists from Amazon in the areas I most read. I rarely, if ever, buy ebooks. If I am going to spend my money it is going to be on a tangible product. A book that I can hold in my hands and never worry about the battery dying during the good part. So, I read a lot of free fiction on my NOOK. After a recent brouhaha over faked Amazon reviews*, I am leerier of those then ever. So now I am left to decide based on nothing but covers. I will also tell you that I know a lot of people who buy books. People who buy ebooks and who ask me what I think.**
A word of advice: you need to invest in a great cover. If your artistic skills end at the written word, find a graphic artist who can help. Beg, barter, beg some more. And when you are finished ask people what they think. Listen to what they say. Then shrink it down. Blow it up. Make sure it is the very best thing you can create because if it is not? Most of us will not even bother to click through.
Oh, and PS – please proof read your blurb.
* And if you ever thought that all Amazon reviews were 100% real, I have some land to sell you.
**I know I don’t push big numbers but I do push some and for people just starting some is better than none.