BB Thinking Too Hard about Book Covers

Thinking Too Hard1 BB Thinking Too Hard about Book Covers

For those of you that are NOT yet aware… I am INDEED a cover whore… I know right? *shocked gasps of disbelief pass throughout the blogosphere* icon wink BB Thinking Too Hard about Book Covers

Now… We’ve ALL seen gorgeous covers (see below)

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I’m a fan of covers with people on them I suppose… But I also love covers like this:

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Just a random FYI… I LOVE covers with birds on them. Weird right? AnyCrazyBirdLady… Another dose of randomness because I know you guys LOVE it when I stray WAY off topic- that green symbol up there on Quaranteen is a ZOMBIE symbol!! So EPIC win!

Okay, okay, okay so ALL of the above are GORGEOUS and intriguing covers right? I know that a pretty cover doesn’t mean “good book”. But GUARANTEED- I would see any one of these books in a store and pick it up to at LEAST read the back purely because of the cover.

The reason for this post is simple… I HATE ugly book covers. I just do. Sorry, that I’m a book cover whore SNOB… but that’s the hand we’ve been dealt here. Don’t get me wrong, what I deem unacceptable to even set my pop can on- so as not to leave rings on my table- someone else (who must be BLIND) might think it’s pretty. Here’s my situation… I’m very VISUAL.

The following types of visual stimulation- MAKE ME HAPPY-

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These are covers done by Claudia McKinney of PhatPuppy Art!
(contact her & she’ll make your book gorgeous on the outside)
© Phatpuppy Creations
Angel of Mercy by PhatPuppy Art BB Thinking Too Hard about Book Covers
© Phatpuppy Creations
Robyn Hood by Phatpuppy Art BB Thinking Too Hard about Book Covers
© Phatpuppy Creations
Still Dreaming by Phatpuppy Art1 BB Thinking Too Hard about Book Covers

With art such as THIS available (see above)… there is just no reason for indies or anyone else for that matter to be rocking an ugly book cover. I could LITERALLY get lost in Claudia’s art.

You might be asking yourself what prompted this particular outburst? Well as book reviewers/bloggers we recieve tons of book review requests per week. (even if our review policy states that we aren’t currently accepting them- just sayin)

And I’m okay with this in general… but as my TBR review queue has reached the point of absolute ridiculousness- a book has got to sound AND look ‘BLOW MY MIND’ fabulous for me to accept it.

So here’s the deal, an author/publisher sends me a review request and the synopsis goes something like this:

Zombie Girls of 2012

Blah, blah, blah… 17 year old ‘random girl’ was a totally average chick (come on- 3/5 YA book synopsis start this way…don’t deny it!) until the dead started to rise and feed on living flesh. Forbidden love… tragedy strikes…. humanity at stake.

Alright so the Zombie loving Brunette has been intrigued… scrolling down…
looking for more info… AND…

 BB Thinking Too Hard about Book Covers

You’re getting my “Too bad, so sad letter.”

(I threw this together with an UGLY movie cover as an example)

This very thing happened very recently and prompted me to post an inquiry on Twitter about whether or not it would be considered RUDE to alter my Review Policy to include: “If your book has an ugly cover don’t bother submitting a request.”

This was my EXACT tweet (I’m not really known for my subtly) :

image normal BB Thinking Too Hard about Book Covers @Bookbrunette
Is it rude to have in my review policy, “Ugly covers need not apply.” ?? My patience is wearing thin. Help me.


socks normal BB Thinking Too Hard about Book CoversSarah (@sazbah)
@Bookbrunette Mwaha! Nooo, not rude… I don’t think… I’m sorry, I’m awful. 95% of the time I refuse to read an ugly covered book >__<
ym5wf normal BB Thinking Too Hard about Book CoversKara Malinczak (@Kara_Malinczak)
@Bookbrunette No, honestly, I usually don’t read ugly book covers. It has to appeal to me in some way.
392981 2143497948812 1287127354 31844881 421705100 n  2  normal BB Thinking Too Hard about Book CoversBruce Priddy (@MisterPriddy)
@Bookbrunette an ugly book cover, yes. An unprofessional cover, no.
17a0a3e2 9046 4915 a6c0 7017772dcae0 normal BB Thinking Too Hard about Book CoversCindy Bacon (@Tynga)
@Bookbrunette I have to admit I’m put off by bad covers. I’ll only purchase the book if I hear raving reviews from bloggers I trust.
IMG000018 normal BB Thinking Too Hard about Book CoversMichael Kozlowski (@MAKozlowski)
@Bookbrunette Covers are the draw. They are the first thing you know about books. Does it “look” like a book you’ll enjoy? Look cheap?
 BB Thinking Too Hard about Book CoversInsightful Minds (@IM_BookReviews)
@Bookbrunette I personally think that covers are a big part of sparking interest. While the blurb can sound amazing; the cover can divert.
2e1e21f8 f0fe 4ff9 8ecf 1bac1485d622 normal BB Thinking Too Hard about Book CoversCassie C (@CassayC)
@Bookbrunette I will only read a book with a bad cover if I hear it’s really really good from twitter otherwise Id prob overlook it :S
FB reasonably small BB Thinking Too Hard about Book CoversThe Book Vixen (@TheBookVixen)
@Bookbrunette If a picture is worth a thousand words then a book cover is worth tens of thousands of words. Thus a cover has a huge impact.
FB reasonably small BB Thinking Too Hard about Book CoversThe Book Vixen (@TheBookVixen)
@Bookbrunette I’m less likely to read the synopsis if a book has a bad cover, and therefore less likely to read said book.
socks normal BB Thinking Too Hard about Book CoversSarah (@sazbah)
@Bookbrunette There are too many books to read, not enough time, and we have limited resources. You’re gonna read the book that appeals the confidence in the book, and don’t want to invest in getting it well done, and giving it a chance?
stuffage 008  700x469  normal BB Thinking Too Hard about Book Coversβetωeeϰ The Pαgες‏ @Loretta_Lynn86
@Bookbrunette I will put that shit off until I read a review that MAKES me read it. Bad covers suck. Balls.

I realize that no one actually THINKS they have an ugly book cover… but um…. COME ON. My two favorite points made by fellow tweeters were:

The Book Vixen (@TheBookVixen)
I’m less likely to read the synopsis if a book has a bad cover, and therefore less likely to read said book.

This is completely true right? I mean really… If the COVER doesn’t catch my eye, then I won’t pick up the book to even CHECK what it’s about. Now say I read the synopsis first… THEN find out it has a SUPER ugly cover… Meh… just depends. I honestly DO NOT have time anymore…


Bruce Priddy (@MisterPriddy)
@Bookbrunette an ugly book cover, yes. An unprofessional cover, no.

This is also very true… because there is a HUGE difference!


So I ask YOU guys… What do YOU think?
  • Will you read a book with an ugly cover? Why or why not? 
  • Have you read a book with an ugly cover that COMPLETELY blew your mind? What was it?

Blog Signature Ash BB Thinking Too Hard about Book Covers

Covers and art posted after *** are © Phatpuppy Creations
by Claudia McKinney of PhatPuppy Art 

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 BB Thinking Too Hard about Book Covers
Book loving, zombie freak, stiletto wearing, twitter whore, coffee addicted Brunette with a purse fetish. Collector of flamingo paraphernalia & zombie keepsakes… Frequenter of thrift stores... cRaFtY bitch... and I match my eye-shadow to my outfit - everyday.
 BB Thinking Too Hard about Book Covers

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57 Responses to BB Thinking Too Hard about Book Covers

  1. Mwaha! Oh my goodness, I’m reading my second tweet, and I don’t even know what I meant >___<

    You already know what I think, but seriously, I'm a visual person. I work in graphic design, and I expect a certain level of professionalism. What I was (trying) to say with my second tweet was something along the lines of this:

    We have limited time and resources, and, whether it's fair or not, cover DOES play a part in our decision to spend our time and money on a book. If (I think) a book has an ugly cover, I'll still make an exception if my trusted friends or bloggers tell me it's worth reading. I'm not totally horrible. I try not to judge self-pubbed authors. That's not fair. Their time and resources? Even more limited than ours, and they don't have a marketing and publicity team behind them. What upsets me, though, is when an author is with a publisher, and the publisher produces an unattractive cover. It suggests to me that they don’t have confidence in the book, and aren’t really backing the book with their marketing $$$

    Seriously, I KNOW I’m reading too much into it, but yeah :/

    Like you, I’m a cover-whore.
    I’m shallow :D
    I want PRETTY.

  2. The Muggle says:

    I agree there are so many tips/tricks and art out there to make your book cover awesome. Some people draw their own and are shocked when you say in your review something like “don’t judge this book by its cover”. They can’t understand why you would say that.

    Honestly pretty covers are more likely to get reviews and being accepted for reviews.

    So no I don’t think it is rude to put that in your review policy :)

  3. Jennifer says:

    I wont even touch a book with an unappealing cover. I have to have something to visualize when reading and if all I can think about is that atrocious cover then it ruins the story for me….

  4. Aurian says:

    No, I won’t pick up a book from a new to me author with an ugly or scary cover. I have to hold it, don’t I? The bookcovers by authors I already follow are less important, because I know the content will be good. But tastes differ, so a cover you don’t like, the author perhaps is very happy with. Difficult to make it a criterium. But you have the right to decline any book you are not “attracted” to.

  5. One of the things I’m discovering, is that what zombie fans think is awesome, may not be what the rest of the population thinks is awesome. And vice versa. This was an issue with my zombie books from Tor. They’re doing a cover overhaul for the mass paperbacks and though I loved the original covers, I have to say the new ones are gonna kick some major ass. Hopefully, both sets of the population will embrace the new covers.

    My love for painted covers has to go away when it comes to my vampires series. The Vampire Bride series already went through one cover change and another one is on the way. I do listen to feedback I get from fans, reviewers, bloggers, etc.

    Claudia McKinney is quickly becoming my “to go to” artist.

    • See I’m all for a bloody, gory cover (as per SOME zombie books) as long as it’s professional! I don’t want to be staring at some dude’s hacked off hand, smeared with strawberry jelly that he photoshopped and took in his kitchen! Lol

  6. Haha oh my word. This post rocks my face off. Love it. Love you.

  7. This post just friggin rocks!! I totally get what you mean with the ugly book covers. (And where the hell was I when this twitter discussion happened. #fail) I have read books with not so great covers, but only after hearing good reviews for it. MANY reviews. (One of them, The Hunger Games. I mean really, that cover was not doing it for me visually, but after hearing the awesomeness, I finally picked it up.) It’s true, most people won’t bother to pick up a book with an unappealing cover to even read what it’s about. It could be the best freaking book in the world, but if the cover doesn’t catch my eye, I would never know.

    • The Hunger Games cover doesn’t bother me at all… its not one that I’d blow up and stick on my wall, but it didn’t deter me at all from wanting to read the series!

  8. LOL this post made me smile! Because as much as it’s preached to not judge a book by its cover, even I have to admit that we ALL do anyways and I LOVE you for saying that in this post!! x) There might be some awesome books with bad covers out there, but gorgeous covers are always what catch my eye first, so I’ll always be more likely to pick up a book with a pretty cover than not, unless it’s been recommended by a blogger I trust (or is written by an author I already love!).

    But yes! There’s definitely a difference between “unprofessional” and “ugly!” I didn’t like The Hunger Games cover at first, but it was very professional so I gave it a shot (and loved it like crazy!)! But that zombie cover you made was kind of terrible LOL. x)

    Awesome post, Ashley! <3

  9. Tynga says:

    I’ve been faced lately with so-so covers of series I LOVE so while it sucks to have not-so-pretty covers, I’m still anxious to read them! Example: Honestly, I really don’t like that cover. But Vlad is MADE OF AWESOME, so I pre-ordered it as soon as it was available.
    Also, Jess Haines’ cover are really on the blah side (see) but her books are amazing! And so is she for that matter.

    On the flip side, Illuminate, one of the pretty cover you showed, didn’t make the cut for me. I had to force myself to read it because I had requested it for review (said review will be on my blog April 20th) and I was so disappointed because I had high expectations for such a pretty cover.

    So I guess being cover snobs that we are can go both ways. We can miss some incredible books because the covers aren’t pretty and we can pick awful books because they had a shiny cover to lure us in. Deadly as a siren’s song!

  10. THE HUNGER GAMES cover is a very interesting story. At first it was going to have a girl on the cover, but the publishing house felt that the story had wide appeal beyond teenage girls. They wanted to appeal to boys as well. They nixed the idea of having a girl on the cover and came up with the covers that are now famous. Their intent was to create mass appeal for the series.

  11. Jenny says:

    I remember that tweet! It made me giggle:) I know for many authors the prospect of creating a book cover is probably a daunting one, and any amount of research will show that hiring a graphic designer or illustrator is probably a fairly expensive endeavor to get the quality of work that would compete with the YA books put out by the big publishers. But I agree, with work like Claudia’s and other really beautiful stock photography out there, it’s not only possible to have a beautiful cover, but in this competitive YA genre, I think necessary to have one.

  12. I try not to ‘judge a book by its cover’ when it comes to review requests. I try to be open-minded and go by what the blurb has to offer.

    Have I accepted a review request for a book that has an ugly cover? Yes, and more than once. And did I enjoy reading that book with the ugly cover – Yes. One book in particular (which shall remain nameless, so please don’t ask) had the most plain and boring cover; it seriously looked like someone slapped it together in less than 5 minutes. But the book was an awesome read.

    However, when I am buying books, I’m a complete cover whore. Check this: If a book is a FREE Kindle book and has an ugly cover, I’m not even going to read the blurb and will pass on the freebie. Whore much? Yes. That’s how much of a cover whore I am. Now if someone were to recommend a book with an ugly cover, I would at least read the blurb.

    To authors who self-pub, I say this: It’s what’s on the inside that matters most but it’s what’s on the outside that brings them in.

    • Vic Caswell says:

      i’m the same way about free books… because in the end, they aren’t free. reading a book is an investment of your most valuable commodity- time. and if the author isn’t confident enough in their book to invest any kind of money into producing it OR require you to pay for the privilege of reading it… i won’t have the confidence in the product to read it.
      the “never judge a book by its cover” saying is superseded in my mind by “you get what you pay for” .

  13. Isalys says:

    Since you and I practically share a brain sometimes, you know I agree!! I’m so a cover whore too! I did a post, many moons ago, about how cover art affect the appeal/sales of a book.

    We can’t entirely blame authors for ugly covers since few of them have much of a say in that process…but even so, if you have a fugly cover, it doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in me on the quality of a book. Is that wrong? Yeah but let’s be honest here. We’re just as visual as we are cognitive. I need both my eyes, my brain and my heart to be happy when I read my books :)

    ♥Isalys / Book Soulmates

  14. Vic Caswell says:

    amen to this!
    Claudia McKinley’s work is just- wow!- inspirational.
    i think having an unprofessional cover is a really, really bad business decision.
    funds are tight for practically everyone right now, but writing a book takes time. put aside a little every week to your “make this book actually sell” fund and when the time comes and your ready, hire a professional.
    your readership will thank you.
    especially if you have a print book.
    no one wants to be seen reading a book with an ugly/ uninteresting/ unprofessional cover.

  15. Renee says:

    As a book cover designer myself, I am CONSTANTLY telling authors this very same thing. Thank you for presenting it from a new perspective! I’ve shared the link to this post on my Business Page because I think it’s SO important. Even if it might lose me some business to the Claudia @ phatpuppy, it’s SO WORTH having people read your thoughts.

  16. Heidi says:

    Tricky question, yes I agree about the cover thing but now days with an ereader you don’t always see the cover so a bad book cover can sneak into your reading. I will read a book with a bad cover if it gets rave reviews but most of the time, I am with you and steer clear.
    love you angel and devil picture btw..

  17. Hah hah, I love the Zombie Girl book cover you made! Could you pleeeease design the book covers for all the bad books that I get pitched? That way I’d at least get a warning. I get really annoyed when a book is pretty and then it ends up being awful.

    But it’s true, I succumb to cover lust all the time, even when I should know better. Covers are incredibly important, they can make you pick up a book when you know nothing about it. And yes, I confess I’m less likely to be interested if the cover art turns me off. Shallow, but true.

  18. I absolutely and wholheartly agree with you! There is NO excuse for a bad cover, NON! Specially not with awesome Cover designers out there to hire.
    And I LOVE and Adore Claudia’s Art, I mean she’s crazy awesome and her covers are worth every cent in my opinion.

    Just like you, I often don’t pick up the book if it’s bad.. I just … don’t!!!

  19. Rachel says:

    I am a total cover junkie. And Phatpuppy Art’s covers are always so amazing.

    I’d sooner read a bad book with an awesome cover than an awesome book with a bad cover. But I’ll read an amazing book with a bad cover ONLY if someone else I trust has read it and swears by it.

    There are so many books I’ve walked by in bookstores with drab or uninteresting covers. It’s why I was hugely into chick lit for awhile because the covers were so pretty and they looked perfect on my bookshelf.

    But your Zombie Girl mockup is so similar to so many covers I’ve seen and I’m exactly like you with the “Why? Dear God why?” response.

    Of course I am that way with blogs too. The more visually appealing the blog, the more I’ll visit it. Like yours. It’s super pretty. Makes me want to read what you have to write and stick around for a bit. Just saying…

    But pretty covers… or at least ones that show thought and effort were put into it… are so important for Indie books. If you don’t want to invest the time, effort or care into your cover, what makes me think you’ve put that same level of care into your book. I get it about costs, but first impressions and all that.

    Sorry, am rambling dude. Must. Stop. Now.

  20. I just wanted to say that Phatpuppy Art has done my book cover and is working on my second one now. Her work is fabulous!
    I think it is the cover that sells the book!!!

  21. First, I think you need to be specific about “ugly” cover. It’s too subjective and plus, you could have some totally awesome zombies on the cover which are gross (and could be considered ugly) but the composition and color was just to “die” for! I couldn’t even define it as professional/unprofessional since I’ve seen some professional covers I asked, “what were they thinking?!”

    I will read a book with an “ugly” cover. I’ve done that a lot. However, I do think that authors need to put a lot of thought into the cover. It’s the icing on the cake. You might be more tempted to partake even in an non-edible cake if it looked scrumptious enough! It will draw me into reading a book even if the book sucks. LOL

  22. kimba88 says:

    I am a self-professed cover whore as well..its sad but true..the cover always captures my eye and emotions first.

  23. I think ugly covers show that you or your publisher doesn’t care enough to hire a decent designer. You can do simple, well. If your cover is ugly, that means you don’t have enough faith in your work to put money forward to design a half-decent cover.

  24. I am a cover girl, just like you. It even says in my little thing on the face of my blog that I read books with pretty covers. I basically choose books that I think are pretty. Some absolutely freaking blow my mind and some gorgeous ones just don’t do it for me ( I had one big-house book – gorgeous – recently and couldn’t believe it, just didn’t like it – but I guess it’s like the absolutely gorgeous stupid girl we all went to school with, right?)

    Anyway, I HAVE accepted a great INDIE or two in the recent months with cover art that I consider bad – only because of the freaking RAVING reviews on Goodreads and from what other bloggers had said. Ugly covers, though, I won’t lie. (I hesitate to say which books because some of the readers here have read them, I’m sure. I desire NO HURT FEELINGS as the cover art beauty can be pretty much opinion-based sometimes, right?) Anyway, said books basically rocked my world and in each of these cases got 5 stars from me. So, yeah, I’ve judged and will continue to judge, but sometimes I’m wrong.

    HOWEVER – if people would just make their covers look like the most gorgeous Indie cover ever (looking at you, AIREL) this WOULD NEVER be a problem, RIGHT???

  25. Alexa says:

    Lol you are too funny sometimes chica!

    I have to say I have read some books that have boring covers, not really bad just sort of boring and didn’t stand out and sometimes the book ended up being really great. I know that Between the Lines has a plain cover so does Liz Reinhardt’s books but I liked both of them.

    I agree we are attracted to pretty covers but when everything has a girl on it with a pretty dress, it doesn’t really speak volumes about the storyline.

    Lol Matt and I were actually talking about covers today and he said to me he dislikes when there are people on the front, especially if you can see their faces. I have to sort of agree with him because the cover image can ruin how I will personally view the characters. I’m just tired of a cover being pretty but having nothing to do with the storyline inside. At least with Matt’s covers they show a glimpse of the storyline. :)

  26. While I don’t completely judge a book by the cover, if faced with choices on a similar type of story, I will typically go with the cover I like better, and there isn’t an artist out there I like better than Claudia. As an indie author, I’ve used her art on over twenty novels, and the results are always amazing. I’m pretty much redoing all my covers with her work because it’s so stunning.

  27. Now I want to write a book just so I can have Claudia do my cover! Seriously!!! Super talent she is.

    Awesome post hun. I agree with you all the way. Like BV said, crappy covers don’t even motivate me to read the back cover.

  28. Molli says:

    Hmmm, if the cover is truly ugly, then I would probably think twice about picking up the book. But I would probably still at least read the synopsis, though, I can’t guarantee I’d be as eager to do so. I can’t deny it, there’s just something about a pretty cover. That said, I’ve read a couple books with gorgeous covers that were not good reads, so it’s all sort of relative, I guess!

  29. candace says:

    Love those covers!!!! So many great points made here. Like you I just have too many requests and if the cover isn’t pretty it just makes turning it down easier. But if it has a gorgeous cover its hard to say no. But if someone raves about how good a book is and it doesn’t have a great cover I’ll still read it.

  30. A great cover is definitely the first thing that draws me to a book. Without it a book really needs to be highly recommended by someone before I’ll take notice of it.

    BTW: The green symbol is actually a ‘Biohazard symbol’ used as warning on things that carry a significant health risk such as viral samples etc. Of course that virus might turn people into Zombies too, so it’s appropriate. ;)

  31. Giselle says:

    “Is it rude to have in my review policy, “Ugly covers need not apply.” ?? My patience is wearing thin. Help me.” BAHAH. Omg I thought I was the only one. If the cover is ugly I’m usually not interested enough to check out what the book is about O_O I freaking love the cover for Honalee though!!!

  32. Anjelica says:

    All of these covers are gorgeous. I don’t even look at a book with an ugly cover, why read a book if you don’t like the cover.

  33. Felicia says:

    I freaking totally agree! Ok so maybe you don’t have to have the most beautiful cover in the world but at least act like you put a little effort into it. I know it can be an investment but I know books that have sold tons on covers alone!

  34. I’m a total cover whore myself! And you’re right, this cover is allll kinds of wrong.

    That being said, if the reviews are good – I will read a bad cover book. But sadly it has to work extra hard to get me.

  35. I laughed SO hard at that cover until I realized it was fake! Then I was still laughing! :) Covers are HUGE deals! HUGE, HUGE, HUGE! Especially to those of us who don’t read 100′s of books a year. If I was just a random reader I would pick a book up at a bookstore partially because of the cover…at least at first glance.

  36. [...] importance of a cover- and from the writer’s perspective. And over at the Bookish Brunette the Brunette admits to refusing to review any book with an ugly cover. Which has compelled me to write this article about why book covers are so [...]

  37. MizB says:

    ROTFLOL. Yep, I sooooo totally agree with you! More times than I can count, I’ve been offered up books for review — and the blurb made it sound interesting enough that I went to see a cover image… and then — as you said — “Bam!”… the cover completely sucked, and I said “No Thanks”. :P

    I’m a total cover-junkie, too, and so that cover has to appeal to me if I’m going to give the book a try. I agree that amazing covers do NOT equal great stories… but they certainly speak to whether/not I want to give the book a try. ;)

    I am a total book-cover snob. I’ll join the club. LOL


  38. I am a huge judger of book covers. I will admit it. If you don’t take the time and effort to make your book look beautiful, I am going to assume that you didn’t put effort into your book.

    There are some covers that are not “wow” worthy, but have “pretty” or “interesting” covers. I will still give those ones a chance too.

  39. Stephanie D. says:

    You are too funny! As shallow as it is, I can’t excited about books with ugly covers either.

  40. [...] to review a book if its description sounded interesting but the cover was terrible?[thanks to The Bookish Brunette for the idea for today's MM [...]

  41. [...] to review a book if its description sounded interesting but the cover was terrible? [thanks to The Bookish Brunette for the idea for today's MM [...]

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