Judging a Book by its Cover

I was greatly amused by these recreations of vintage Mills & Boon book covers (who doesn’t like to nearly kiss by some horses?), and it got me thinking about romance book covers in general.

Boy, oh boy, are there some awful covers out there. (I’d give some examples, but that would likely get me in trouble!) Does a bad cover put you off trying a book? For me it doesn’t, since I know that what I consider a bad cover might be beautiful in someone else’s eyes. There are some covers out that that I just boggle at because I think they’re hideous, but I know others would certainly disagree. I also know that authors only have partial control over their covers, and the publisher has the final say.

Whether or not I buy a book depends on if the plot rings my bell, and the quality of the excerpt. I won’t let an ugly cover stop me from buying if the book sounds good and/or I like the author.

For my own covers, I prefer no faces. I have such clear pictures in my mind of what my characters look like, and there’s no way a cover artist can ever replicate them. But I don’t mind them as much on other people’s books. I tend to prefer photography over illustration (unless the illustration is very realistic and life-like). Simple over complex and fancy. Of my own covers, I have a soft spot for my first (by April Martinez):

So, what draws you to a cover? What turns you off? And how much does the cover matter? Does it matter more for a print book than an e-book?

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