Covers & Blurbs

I was reading this article, in which six authors answered questions about covers and blurbs, and I thought, Why don’t I answer those questions too? Because, you know, it might be interesting to do so.

How important are covers in terms of selling a book?

Very, I think. My Regency romance Brynnde has sold very well, and it has also won a cover art award. I don’t think the two are unrelated. That said, I love the cover to The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller, but that didn’t sell as well. I think it’s important that a cover convey the story, and maybe that one was a little too artsy for readers to understand what’s inside the book. I’ve always said a cover is a promise made to the reader, and readers are angry if they feel lied to. So a cover is really important, not only in getting someone to pick up the book—though that is the chief function of the cover, to act as an advertisement—but in accurately reflecting the contents.

Have your publishers asked you for your opinion or “input” on your covers, and to what extent do you think they listened? Did you ever meet with the designer? How important was “marketing” in making decisions about the cover of your book(s)?

I’ve had two publishers thus far; the rest of my work is self-published. One publisher used the cover I’d already had designed. The other had a designer do the cover, but she was in contact with me about it, running things by me. I don’t think we talked about “marketing” at all. Again, it was more about making sure the cover matched the story.

Did you ever receive a cover that made you unhappy and if so, what did you do about it? Did you ultimately end up with a cover that made you happier?

Will probably do a new cover for this one at some point.

My early covers for my self-published work weren’t terrible, but they weren’t great either. I can’t say I was “unhappy” about them, though. I did a new cover for one, and I’m planning to do a new cover for another one at some point.

How important are blurbs, particularly for a first-time author?

Probably very important! Alas, I’ve never received any, at least not pre-publication. I do manage to get many good pull quotes from reviews after the fact, though, and I do believe they help in continuing to sell the books.

How did you go about getting your blurbs? Did your agent or editor help, or did you rely more on personal connections?

As per above, I don’t really go hunting for blurbs. I probably should, but I wouldn’t even know where to start! Advice, anyone?

Have you ever offered someone else a blurb?

I’ve never been asked. I’d be flattered if someone did ask. Then again, I’m so busy. It might be difficult to find the time to read a book and blurb it. Maybe if the author gave me very early notice.

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M

Writer/Screenwriter

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