Last year, I spent most of my 'writing' time editing manuscripts for others. Although I will continue to edit, I'm making a conscious decision to actually write during my writing time this year. As part of that writing, I'll be participating in the #InkRipples blog meme. This month’s theme is Book Covers. So here we go...

     Since I can remember, I’ve heard the saying, don’t judge a book by its cover. That’s exactly what I do though. Don’t you? What else is going to grab your attention when it’s sitting on the shelf with a ton of other books? Unless you know the author or are looking for the book specifically, your eyes scan the covers and draw you to the ones that seem the most interesting.

     For me, it’s basically the ones with a picture telling me what the story is about. It’s like the idiom, a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s exactly what a book cover is supposed to do. Tell you just enough of the story to make you want to pick it up and read it. Some covers even carry this picture over onto the back of the book, including the spine. When they are neatly tucked in on a shelf, that’s all you’ll see, the spine.

     To be honest, it’s these books I usually pick up from the library or bookstore shelf. The inviting picture on the spine draws me in to read the title. If the title sounds good, then I pick it up for further exploring. If there isn’t a picture then it’s usually books where the title is written in a different font, something snazzy and eye catching. So, although I think the saying is a great way to remind myself to not judge other things on looks alone, for books it just doesn’t apply.

     I wish it did. Why? It’s for selfish reasons. As an author, I know it might be putting my book at a disadvantage. Don’t get me wrong. I think my cover is beautiful. Does it do the above though? For the age range it’s intended for? I’ve heard differing opinions. My book is titled, The Gardenia Curse. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Gardenias, right?
BookCoverImage     I love gardenias and when my publisher sent me the cover, I wasn’t surprised it had a gardenia on it. It’s the first thing that pops to mind when you hear the title. Green also happens to be my favorite color, so it was a win-win for me.

     I have had many people tell me the cover is beautiful and it is. At least, I think so. These people happen to be in their 30’s or are older, though. They are not in the target age range, which is middle-grade readers.

     The feedback I have received from readers in this age range has been that it would do better with a different cover. Meaning, the current cover would not have enticed them to pick it up and explore further.

     It doesn’t tell them the book is about a girl thrown into her dreams, running for her life from a Shadow and it all began when she moved in with her grandmother, who loves gardenias.

     They read it because someone they knew recommended it or gave it to them. Don’t misunderstand, I love that word of mouth has helped get my book out there. As a first novel though, I would love to also hear the cover made them pick the book up and read it.

     What about you? Do you judge a book by its cover? If so, what draws you in?
#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary WaibelKatie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.