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Book Covers: What Sucks You In?

I'm heading back home after a weekend in New Orleans to stand in my sister's wedding, so today's post will be a quick question inspired by Sarah Skilton's post on this topic. Most people admit that a great cover can suck them in to buy a book, but what kind of cover do you prefer?

Do you want a full face to put with a name, like this:

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Book 1)

Or do you prefer the body part method and leave the rest to the imagination? Like this...

Only the Good Spy Young (Gallagher Girls)

Or a combo, some characters seen, some not.

Inside Out

Or the romance standby and a personal favorite of mine, the yummy male torso...

The Perfect Play (A Play-by-Play Novel)

Or something more abstract...

Wake (Wake Series, Book 1)

What catches your eye to most? And do certain kinds of covers make you NOT want to buy a book? Which type of cover do you prefer? What do you picture for your own book?

Reader Comments (31)

Its a mixture for me. i like them to be really artistic, like The Blue Blood Series Mellissa del la cruz, book two was called masqurade i love the idea of masquaide balls and the cover was shiny and artistic so brought book one and two, so many people say never judge a book by its cover but sometimes its to hard not to.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMonique

I have to agree. I love a character mixed in with an abstract scene. It isn't the only thing that draws me in, but it does play a significant role whether I want to admit it or not.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShain Brown

Character minimally present - quite abstract. If there is too much yum on the cover I'd never face the spotted one in charge of the shop's till.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElaine AM Smith

You know, it's really difficult for me to say what actually draws me to a book. Yeah, all these covers are eye catching but if I'm not in the mood for some 'type' of book, it doesn't matter what the cover looks like. I guess my mood has a lot to do with what book will draw my attention.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHarris Channing

90% of the books I buy are because of the author. Most of the books in the bookstores are spine out. I'm more interested in what's on the back cover.

That being said, I agonize over the covers the art department chooses for my books. I want them to convey the mood and I want them to attract other readers, most of whom are probably NOT like me.

I should be seeing the cover for my May release in a month or so, and yes, I'm worried.

Terry" rel="nofollow">Terry's Place" rel="nofollow">Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerry Odell

I like #2 and 4 one is unique and memorable and the other is just yum.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoanna St. James

I prefer great costume/setting/props and no faces. I want to be able imagine the characters.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterE. Arroyo

LURVE The Perfect Play cover. Not just a male torso, but lean hips, track pants, the football. The whole thing is just steamy and I've been dying to buy the book since I saw it on your blog a few weeks ago. That said, I like abstract covers as well. It really depends on whether it's well done or not. What I don't like for sure is the cheesy sort of old fashioned romance covers with Fabio and a generic debutante draped over him on the cover. It's a dead giveaway that the book will be ripe with "seething loins" and other, equally afflicted genitalia. I'm all for romance and love scenes but I prefer my language more frank (or at least with more modern euphemisms).

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristine Bell

you're right--covers are huge. I have to admit, those Twilight covers were fantastic. A big part of the reason I picked up the book. Also, the cover for Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. GORGEOUS.

I like all the ones you've posted here. Male torso... yay! :D

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLTM

I have to agree with Terry on this. Most of the time I pick a book because of the author. The rest of the time it is the title that catches my eye. From there I flip to the back over. I personally refer books that don't show faces or body parts. I'd rather leave that up to the imagination.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia

I tend to be attracted to an abstract cover. It intrigues me, and I want to know the significance of it. If that makes sense. :-)

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDawnB

I like abstract covers, but I'm getting tired of the same "blank/solid background and singular, possibly metaphorically titular object in foreground." A lot of YA books are taking this route, and it's getting quite old.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSummer

I like the abstract, to me it's a much better representation of the concept. There are soooo many faces on covers, and it's not very interesting... they're all pretty much the same: nose, eyes, lips... what's so eye catching about that? Plus, if I don't find the face attractive/interesting I'm not going to be drawn to it. What a dumb reason to miss out on a book!

I think that having a face on the cover is like having a name for a title. I would not be intrigued by a book called Ashley, it tells me nothing interesting.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErica

I like the sexy covers. Covers are what grabs my attention first, so sexy male/or female--not necessarily a face--with a gorgeous color scheme:red, black, purple, silver. It all works for me.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAvril Ashton

I guess I'm a bit of the odd man out here. I don't gravitate toward romance and find most of those covers cheesy. I want the cover to be interesting, well done artistically whether that means with people or without. But if the back story and first page don't grab me then I will pass. I have too much to do I guess and little time to read an unlimited amount of books. As a writer, I will probably buy a friends book regardless of the cover.
Nancy" rel="nofollow">N. R. Williams, fantasy author

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterN. R. Williams

I don't like covers with models on them, especially really attractive/partly dressed ones. I want something abstract, not trying to tell me how to picture the characters or too slick-looking.

I usually prefer covers that have some indication of setting. A still life, landscape, or building exterior/detail (like a close-up of an old wooden door with a fancy handle, or a arch that lets you peer into a courtyard).

I imagine the cover of my own book being a close-up of a needlepoint tapestry (to be designed by me, and with the pattern included in the back of the book.)

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristine H

I'm a fan of abstract. I heart symbolism.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTina Lynn

A sexy male torso will always catch my eye but I like a lot of different covers. I'm not big on the VA covers because that isn't how I picture the characters. Two of my favorite covers have to be City Of Bones and Torment. Both very different but very good!

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Well. Not a big fan of a face on the cover. I think I like the more abstract ones. And this is maybe lousy and chicken shit of me, but the whole nekkid torso thing? Sometimes very cheesy. Especially the nekkid torso in a kilt. It's kind of embarassing. It's like saying, "Hey! If you put up a calendar with Sports Illustrated swimsuit models next to your desk, you are a sexist pig, but I can carry around books with nekkid torso's on them and it's okay because it's literature." Not that I don't love a nekkid torso in a kilt (or camo's, or chaps, or breeches, or fireman pants, or...). I just can't take them out of my purse at lunch time.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTeri Anne Stanley

I guess I like abstract. The face seems too concrete and I prefer making up my own image for the characters.

I am also hugely attracted to font and cover texture. A cover that is matte paper is always going to be a win for me, plus those with a heavy watercolor style paper. I love classic serif fonts--and fonts tell you a lot about the type of story it will be. For example, anything in bold Impact font is going to be a thriller/mystery/adventure and likely filled with murder, so I might not like it. But a gorgeous serif font tells me there's romance involved plus character development...I'm in!

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSierra Godfrey

I like the abstract. I prefer coming up with a vision of the characters myself rather than what they look like on the cover.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan R. Mills

I like having some random abstract object on the front that makes me go: What?

But then there are some awesome ones with people on them, like Hush Hush and Fallen.

I totally judge a book by its cover at first though because sometimes with hundreds of books on my To Read list, the cover is what might actually pull me in at first! :)

Good post!

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany Neal

Abstract, please. No faces. I like to develop my own picture of the characters as I read. And no semi-naked bodies. Let the story pull me in, not a hunk of beefcake.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Leszczuk

I'm with one and two. :)

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOddyoddyo13

Abstract all the way!

I absolutely HATE novels with photographs on the covers-- they seem so unimaginative and mundane. Also, I don't like to have the character so spelled out for me. Ugh!

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPerri

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