I read recently that the main purpose of a book cover is to attract the reader’s attention. Obviously, it should have something to do with the subject of the book too – you wouldn’t put an image of a vegetable garden on a book called How to Crochet, but the cover needn’t tell the story of the book, just be appropriate in some way. It set me thinking – what makes us pick up a book in a bookshop? Sometimes it’s the author name, but it could also be the image. Or the title, or strapline, or maybe a combination of all of these. I thought it might be fun to find out what different people think.
I’ll start this Cover Love series today, choosing two covers I like, one by another writer and one of my own, saying why I like the images, then over the year we’ll have other people on the blog doing the same.
It was definitely the image that first attracted me to this book. I love that kind of old-fashioned, flowery pattern – I once had a jacket that was very like this cover. Then the title, Mrs Narwhal’s Diary – that seemed to suggest a lady living in an old house, maybe a while back; it conjured up a picture of a genteel, grandmotherly kind of person I might visit on Sunday afternoons. A slice of comfort from the past… I scrutinised the book every time I saw it on social media for a while, then eventually I bought it. It’s a lovely book, published by Louise Walters Books, and the cover designer is Jennie Rawlings. (And I saw when I was getting the image that it’s 99p on Amazon kindle at the moment – a bargain!)
This one’s mine. Choosing a cover when you’re self-publishing a book is different; for a start, you know what the story is, but you still have to put yourself inside the prospective reader’s head. I chose this image for Stolen Sister when I was republishing after rights were returned to me. A young woman, gazing openly at the reader – that seemed an intriguing contrast to the title and strapline. Stolen children are usually younger, so a reader might think that whatever happened to this girl had been going on for a while. Someone must have known she was missing, even if she didn’t… That was my thinking when I decided on this cover, made by the wonderful The Cover Collection. It was a premade cover, and apart from adding the title etc we didn’t change a thing.
We’ll have another Cover Love post in a few weeks. I thought it would be fun to ask publishers, cover designers, anyone in the book business to contribute too, as well as writers. First up will be Rebecca Collins, publishing director at Hobeck Books and editor of The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. She’ll be here with her choices just after Easter.
Book news: Saving the Lakeside Hotel is still doing well, but I have to confess I failed to get it up on the blog sidebar yesterday. Technology is not my thing… 🙄 I’ll put Son 2 on the job for next time.
I’ll leave you with a photo of Glasgow, the main setting in Stolen Sister.