Cover it Up!

This week’s question is, “What on a book cover entices you to pick up and buy?”

There are certain authors whose names immediately draw my attention. If I see their names on a book and I have time to read, I’ll buy them even before I read the blurb. Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods, Robyn Carr, and Rebecca Winters are four authors I’ve come to trust. These women really know how to tell a story! I’m also a huge fan of Donna Andrews and her cozy mysteries.

Aside from these favorite authors, I guess the first thing that catches my eye is the cover image. If that interests me I’ll read the back cover blurb. I look for something on the cover (either on the front or back) that tells me:

  1. The genre. If it’s a romance, I expect to see hearts and flowers, or a peaceful romantic scene. Something that shows me that there’s a happy ending. If it’s a suspense, I’d expect the cover to be dark and mysterious.
  2. It’s nice to know upfront if a story takes place in another country and/or another time period.
  3. Heat level. There was a time in my life when I wanted to read a lot of spice, and my young daughters would tease me about all the “red books” I’d bring home from the library. Now, I’m learning more toward the sweet romance, the kind I write. I don’t mind if there’s a little bit of spice, but I’d like a heads up if it’s more than a little spicy.

I’m not a big fan of people on covers, unless it’s biographical. If the book is well-written, I get a mental image of the characters. Nine times out of ten, my mental image doesn’t match what’s on the cover. And I’ve shied away from romance books that depict men who just don’t appeal to me, only to find that once I forgot about the image on the cover, I enjoyed the story immensely. So the wrong people on the cover can drive away your target readers.

So I guess what entices me to purchase a book (other than the names of my five favorite authors) is a combination of cover image and blurb that give me a clear idea of what to expect.

What about you?


About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
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13 Responses to Cover it Up!

  1. We’re of a like mind-set, Patty.I will have to give it a good thought before I have to post on Friday.
    I had not given much thought to it; it’s just something I think we often just automatically react to, depending on our taste. The old “I don’t know art, but I know what I like” saying is a close analogy.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I think you have the most difficult job of us all, Tonette! I can’t imagine being the fifth person to weigh in on a topic. I like your analogy. Sometimes it’s difficult to explain WHY I don’t like a particular book cover, but I know it doesn’t appeal to me. I suppose that’s why the back cover blurb is so important.


      • Oh, I think the idea of the topics in the first place is to see other people’s ‘takes’ on a subject. I don’t mind much as I am not usually without an opinion!(It just took me many years to voice it.) I can usually fill in with research, if nothing else. It’s when the same year;y topic come up that it starts to get tough.


  2. jeff7salter says:

    well said, Patty. I may have to copy and paste your column for my Hound Day entry!


  3. I have not given much thought to my post for this week yet but you do bring out some really valid points. It would be nice if there was something that could let you know the heat level of books, not every book does that. I bought one with the intention of sharing it with my daughter because it had a pretty cover and the blurb sounded like something we could enjoy and talk about. It seemed like every 10 pages there was very detailed sex. I did not read it all the way through and am very glad I did not buy a copy for Jess who was 13 (this was last year).


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Yes, it’s scary to think that young kids can have access to books inappropriate for them. With so many kids having their own devices it’s so easy for them to get access to things they shouldn’t see and/or read. Parenting is so much harder in some ways.


  4. pjharjo says:

    Good article! You’re pretty much of the same mind as me – both blurb and cover figure in to the books that are bought.


  5. Helen Pollard says:

    I think the cover attracts my eye and the blurb is then what decides it, I’m like you, Patty – not keen on very clear photos of people on the front (something vague is OK) because if I don’t take to them I won’t want to read the book. I prefer to imagine the characters myself.


  6. Pingback: My 5 Star Friday Recommendation is Something Different | jean's writing

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