When I meet people and they find out I’m an author, the first question out of their mouths is, “Oh. Do you write children’s stories?” When I reply that I don’t, inevitably they say, “Then you must write romance novels.” Uh, no. These questions send me to the mirror to see what it is about my appearance that doesn’t say Mystery Writer/Writer of Evil Deeds. What is it about me? (Please don’t answer that; it’s a rhetorical question.)
I write mysteries that are lighter with a little humor. Some parts of my stories can be pretty intense, too, but I try not to dwell on those parts. In fact, there’s really nothing funny about murder, but I find humor in the characters who are trying to solve the crime and their situations. (I know. I’ve mentioned this in other posts.)
Now, believe it or not, this blog isn’t about me. It’s about book covers.
I overheard someone in a bookstore comment to a friend, after picking up a book and putting it back, “That’s the dumbest book cover I’ve ever seen. I’m not wasting my money on that book.” Huh? A silly cover might indicate that it’s a funny story, or maybe it’s just light-hearted. Maybe whoever designed the cover didn’t “get” the storyline. They might not even know what the story involves. Who knows why the cover ended up looking odd?
Either way, a title will catch my attention before a book cover will. Title, then cover, and on to the blurb on the back of the book to find out what it’s about. I would have missed some terrific stories if I’d depended solely on the cover and put the book back on the shelf.
I’ve heard a few discussions about book covers and I feel compelled to state an opinion. Check out the synopsis on the back cover before deciding the front cover tells the story. One of my favorite authors (who shall remain nameless) has the most ridiculous covers and I almost put her book back on the shelf the first time I saw one. Something made me take another look, and I’m glad I did. I now have all of her books.
Okay, so don’t judge an author by his or her appearance, and don’t judge a book by its cover.
Now I’m going to go a step farther. Don’t judge an author by the publisher. I’ll bet you weren’t expecting that one. I write two series and I’ve had two publishers. I’ve now moved on and publish my own books, along with several other authors. There really are some excellent self-published books just waiting to be read. No, I’m not talking about my own books. You have to come to your own conclusions about the Sandi Webster series and the Bogey Man series. The fact is, I’ve read some wonderful self-published books over the past few years.
By this time you might be wondering what my point is, although I thought I was rather exacting about that. Judge a book by the quality of the writing, not the cover or the publisher, and certainly not the appearance of the author. I mention this because I once read an article in a newspaper about readers basing their choices on the appearance of the author. Can you believe that? I don’t want to argue the point, but what does appearance have to do with ability?
As a reader I know exactly what I want to read, and the book cover, the author’s appearance, or the publisher who’s releasing the book have nothing to do with my choices. Also, as a reader, if I have the opportunity to meet some of my favorite authors, I’m going to enjoy them, warts and all. Okay, so maybe they don’t have warts, but that’s a figure of speech and I’m sticking to it.
What do you base your choice of books on? The curious among us want to know.
Until next time, pick up a book and read the blurb on the back. Take a chance, no matter what the cover looks like. Keep an open mind. Enjoy a good story.
CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw’s website
CLICK HERE for a quick trip to Amazon.com
If you enjoy audio books, you might try A Well-Kept Family Secret (A Sandi Webster Mystery).