However, February traditionally speaks of love rather than book covers. Television commercials tout gifts of flowers and chocolates for the object of one’s affections. And back when I was in elementary school, the Valentine’s Day party was one of those memorable traditions we looked forward to every year — but book covers? love? Am I digressing here? Or does a powerful connection exist between these seemingly unrelated topics?
As the saying goes, a book should not be judged by its cover. This works both ways: a gorgeous, gripping, or intriguing cover does not guarantee a book of equal quality, nor does a plain-Jane cover necessarily denote a dull, boring story. But since our goal is to sell books and create fans that can’t wait for our next novel to come out, we must wrap our great cover around an equally great story. Here’s where the love comes in. (No, I’m not talking about a steamy romance.)
Love of the true variety is warm, unselfish, and inspires us to give our best to those we love — even more than they expect from us. How does this apply to writing?
Do we love our story? If not, why are we writing it? Do we love our readers? We’d better if we want to sell books. Do we love the cover that’s going to be its calling card? If we do, we had better be certain the story that lies between its front and back lives up to its promise and our readers’ expectations?
I must love my story enough to nurture it, tweak it, rework it as often as needed, and send it out for critical evaluation and correction (edit) before releasing the finished version to the reading public. The title must in some way tie into the dancers and the prone form in the pool of blood on the cover, as must the story. Also, I must love my readers enough to give them a compelling page-turner they can’t put down. I owe them that because I love that they have purchased my book, and I want them to find its interior as interesting as the fantastic cover — and more.
When you choose a book to read, what do you expect from the cover? When you create or select a cover for your novel, how do you relate it to your story?
Retired editor Linda Lane is returning to her first love — writing novels. She’s also opening up a cozy online bookstore where readers and writers meet. Other features of the store include a blog, Q and A sessions, serialized novels, mini-flash-fiction contests with prizes, beta readers or a writing group, and more. We’re still getting it together, but please stop by to visit. You’ll receive an invitation to our grand opening in a few weeks. LindasBookNook.com