Saturday, December 02, 2006

Saturday Surprise: Judging a book by its cover

This month, the topic of covers is close to my heart (as you will soon hear!) so I thought I'd throw it open for discussion. (Mind you, I just had to rewrite that last sentence. I originally had 'throw it up for discussion'. Hmm...can you tell I'm still not over the morning sickness yet?)

When I buy books, I look for my favourite authors first. However, there's nothing surer that will grab my attention than a great cover.

Personally, I go for covers with striking heroes or couples.

Here are a few that grabbed my eye in an instant. (Interesting that the tough guy on Nancy Gideon's "Warriors Second Chance" has a gun. If I'd noticed that before I uploaded the pic, I probably would've bypassed it.)

I've been lucky enough to have had some great covers to date, most of them cosy couples in sexy cinches.

Which brings me to the point of this post: my latest cover.

It's a baby.

A big, very cute, baby.

At first, I was in shock. For me, babies don't portray romance (yes, I'm still changing nappies!)

I adore writing romance and I absolutely, positively love reading it and for me, a sexy cover goes a long way to making me pick up a book. So what's so appealing about a baby cover? The 'awww...' factor? The knowledge that a baby will definitely up the stakes for the hero and heroine? Hmm...

Since I first saw the cover, I've had many people comment how cute it is and how well baby books sell so I've shut up! And it's grown on me, it really has.

So what draws you to a cover? Any particular favourites?

So here it is!

My big, beautiful, baby cover, out in North America and the UK now.

To check out my other covers, visit my website.




  1. I often jude a book by its cover, Nic. For fave authors I barely notice the cover, I just go for that big beautiful glossy name.

    But when you have a look at Maxine Sullivan and Yvonne Lindsay's first covers... Now I know both these gals so would have bought the books anyway, but even so, they are delicious!!!


  2. I'll be brave and step up to be the shallow one first, shall I?

    HOT HERO'S on the cover do it for me. In fact I'm maybe a tad too organized about the way I choose books. I like an actual bookstore to begin with unless it's a specific book I'm looking for, in which case I'll order online. I just like the feel of the books in my hand, the whole experience of standing in a store lined with shelf upon shelf of them and then I:

    1/ Look for named authors I know
    2/ Look for the lines I like best
    3/ Pick up the covers that the hero appeals most to me on
    4/ Read the back Blurb
    5/ Read that little snippet you get inside the front cover
    6/ Start with 3/ again and go through until I've seen everything in the lines i like
    7/ Start with 3/ - 5/ with other lines and sections of the bookstore I might not have looked at yet

    And I do that every single time. And invariably end up with a half dozen books in one go. If, amongst my choices I find a book I particularly enjoyed by an author I hadn't tried before then they move up the list to 1/ on my next visit....

    I think, for me, when I read a category romance, the best ones let me do that whole 'walk in the heroines shoes' thing - so I like a great looking hero to fall in love with ;)

    Oh, I hope they're right about the babies on the cover Nic - cos I have one too!!!! I LOVE your one - but then you're already at 1/ on my list as is...

  3. I've got to admit, covers are important to me. Even though I know the poor author probably had very little say over it.

    I know I'm not alone! Liz Fielding blogged a few weeks back about my September book (we were shelf buddies for the launch of the new 'Romance' line). She hated my cover and delayed reading my book because of it.

    It was an interesting cover. I think I quite liked it. But the heroine wasn't a bit like I'd imagined her, Covent Garden had morphed into Canary Wharf and you could see up Jemima's nose ....

    But then IMO her cover for 'The Sheikh's Guarded Heart' didn't do justice to the book hidden inside either.

    All very interesting. I truly love the NA cover of Claire Thornton's 'The Defiant Mistress'. It's such an evocative image.

    And, Nic, I think I'm with you on being uncertain about baby covers. Perhaps it does have something to do with the fact I've only recently been able to leave the house without worrying whether I've got a smear of snot around my knees or posset on my left shoulder!

  4. I love babies or children on the covers, or a pregnant heroine. I think it's because I loved being pregnant and I also used to be a Pregancy Editor for a magazine so my interests lie in that direction. Plus 4 kids of my own, so....

  5. Me too on loving baby covers. I was really jealous of this one, Nic. If I'd had that for 'A Baby of Her Own' I would've been ecstatic! And if I get that sort of cover for my SCBU book next year, there will be definite snoopy dancing!

    Covers for me aren't quite so important in category romance - I tend to go for the name of someone whose books I've enjoyed, or if it's a new author to me I look at the blurb and then look at the beginning and then a bit in the middle to see if I like the writing style. Hook me with your first page and I'll buy you.

    In non-category fiction, I tend to go for the name first - but for a "new to me" author it's usually the title or the cover that tempts me to pick it up and look inside. (And then it has to pass the page test!)

  6. Babies just don't do it for me!! I don't really like babies at all, I've never changed a nappy and as far as I can tell they just cry - a lot. I like babies when they are about 2 years old. (I'd like to say I don't really like puppies either, I like them when they grow up to be dogs) That's not to say I won't read a book with a baby on the cover, especially if it is a book by an author I already know and like. Otherwise I want a heroine with her gorgeous hunk, preferably with some of his well toned chest showing!!! But I try not to get too hung up on covers as often they don't reflect or even accurately portay the contents of the book. Yours, I've just ordered online Nicola, so I can read it early!!

  7. Have to say I'm on the anti side here with babies or pregnant heroines on the covers. I am definitely on the plus side of HOT GUYS, though!!!!

    That said, if the book with a baby/pregnant heroine cover was by one of my favourite authors - as Trish's and Nic's recent ones have been - then that doesn't stop me buying the book. But it would put me off buying an author whose work I didn't know. If I'm scanning for books to try new ones, it is the cover that jumps out at me first - and if that has a hot guy on it, I am going to reach for that rather than a baby/pregnant heroine one, read the blurb and first page and chose that one every time.

    There are so many books it sadly isn't possible to buy every single one, and with an ever-growing list of authors whose books are a must, regardless of cover, then it means other books have to jump out at me and sadly that first impression is the cover.

    Puppies, kittens or animals in general are another I would definitely pick up!


    PS Don't forget the wonderful Kate Walker's Christmas Stocking Giveaways - two available for the lucky winners! Good luck.

  8. Nic, I like your cover, but I'm wishy-washy about babies on covers as a rule. They don't necessarily sell the book, but they don't rule it out either. It depends on the particular cover.

    I buy according to author and then to tone. I tend to read the last page of the book (well, we KNOW how it's going to end in category, don't we?) so I want to see if the writer is someone whose voice I'm going to enjoy reading the couple of hours or more that I'm going to be in her company.

    I tend not to read much in the way of back cover copy now because it seems aimed at punching buttons, and I don't think it usually has much to do with the book. I know I've written books that bear no relationship to what's on the back blurb, so I tend to give writers the benefit of the doubt and just read something inside to see if I want to buy it.

    I must say I'm also partial to names. I buy books with Brendans who are heroes! Sorry, just me!

    And guys who look like James Purefoy or Hugh Jackman on the cover don't hurt, either!

  9. As a reader I agree with Anne, I usually purchase the book because of the author. I love HOT covers as well with HOT alpha's!!

    Covers have a big impact, especially if I don't know the author. I also believe what's written on the back blurb is important and needs to accurately describe the book. M&B and Presents do an excellent job. So as an author, do you get to provide your input?

    I remember on another forum Kate Walker presented this topic. At the time her US releases had a different cover than the UK releases. Now they seem to be the same and I like the new look. They are sensual……hot!

    Here’s is an interesting article I found: YOU CAN’T TELL A BOOK BY IT’S COVER OR CAN YOU?

  10. When I'm in a bookstore it's the lighter colors, that catch my eye. The dark covers are more easily overlooked.

  11. I guess I'm someone who doesn't judge a book by its cover. It definitely doesn't have anything to do with me wanting to buy a book. It may have a gorgeous hunk on it but if its by a new author and the blurb doesn't grab me then I'm afraid its a no go. I love baby - preggy heroines themes though.

  12. Wow, I love all the different viewpoints here!

    I'm definitely a 'buy the authors I know and love' type of gal first but after that, a snazzy cover will definitely catch my eye, then I read the back blurb and if I'm hooked, I buy.

    The interesting thing about my book is though the baby is an integral part of the story, I really saw this book as a couple-focussed story.
    Guess that's why the title and cover really surprised me when I first saw it!

  13. Hey Nic, thanks for highlighting my cover! I have a big blown up version of A Virgin for the Taking up my office wall and I love it. So romantic and gorgeous and has to be my favourite ever cover of mine.

    As for babies on covers, hey, I'm a mum of 4 and I still stop at every pram going by. Can be embarrassing when you talk to bub before you realise you know mum, but if you love their baby, it's okay:-)) So yeah, I think you're Inherited Baby cover looks gorgeous. And maybe it would be odd with a traditional hero/heroine clinch with a title like that? My gosh though, who wouldn't want to inherit a baby that looks like that? My hand's up already. (Sorry, hon)

  14. Trish,
    I remember seeing your cover posted on the wall at the OZ conference this year and thinking 'oh wow!' Had me drooling, so I had to search it out for this blog :)

  15. Hi....
    Funny you should be talking about covers. We are too, over at Risky Regencies, with me feeling at times like the lone voice in loving a hunky man on the cover!!!

    I'm not fond of baby covers (give me men!) but, Nicola, that baby cover is darling! It does make one itch to pick up the book just as we want to pick up a cute baby and start goo-gooing.

    Speaking of hunky men. On Mar 11 (my tomorrow-you Aussies will have to do math)and Mar 12 Risky Regencies is interviewing Richard Cerqueira, the cover model who appeared on my The Wagering Widow (well, his hand appeared on Wagering Widow, but you will see more of him in the blog). Richard has done lots of Harlequin covers.I hope you will come visit us.

    And I'll see you all on the 18th!
    Diane Gaston