Thursday, March 26, 2015

Judging A Book By It's Cover... Literally!

For the last few days I have been working a book fair at my children's school. One of the things the wonderful PTA (Parent Teacher Association) put together was that each kid left with a book. Some parent's, for whatever reason, sent their kids to school with no money to purchase any books. It happens. So, we had the task of handing out books to ALL the kids in the school. HUNDREDS! That's when things got interesting.

As I was standing there handing out books kids would say things like, "Oh wow that book LOOKS cool."
 "Hey look this one sparkles."

"Take a look at this one, it's got stars on it."

I didn't hear ONCE, "The blurb on this books sounds great." Nor did any kids ask me what any of the books were about. Each person judged the book by their covers. Which was interesting when I looked at the passed over books. "100 Best Knock Knock Jokes That Will Freak Out Mom." Passed over why? Because it had no art, just the title. I mean what 2nd grader wouldn't want that?

So, I asked a boy what book he chose and he said, "This one." I looked at it and it was called "Quantum Science." Of course I asked him, "You like science?" To which he said, "No, not really." Cue my raised eyebrow.

I informed the boy that the book he selected was about three friends at a science fair that pretty much talks about QUANTUM PHYSICS and other zany science info. His response? "Oh, I didn't know that, it just looked cool. Can I have a different book?"

Now, I get that these are kids and the majority of my blog readers are adults (You all better be) so you might feel like this doesn't apply to you, but alas, it does.

See, they might be smaller people, but they are people. COVERS MATTER. More so than I ever thought. There were over a thousand books for these kids to purchase. Hundreds they could have for free. Yet the ones with the coolest covers won out. The content, in that moment, didn't matter. Purchase made, book bought, money in the pockets of authors all over.

For us, we taller folk, the content does matter. But think about how you shop in book stores. What catches your eye? What draws you to flip the book over and read the blurb? 9 times out of 10 it's the cover.

Yes yes, I know recommendations, reviews, blah blah blah they matter A LOT. But when it's just you, and you're perusing the shelves, you will hone in on the one that catches your eye.

I have seen many threads, posts, tweets, and other from authors asking, "What makes you buy a book cover, blurb, rec's...?" Well, I can't answer for everyone but I can say this:

There are MILLIONS of books out there. Authors are born every day and hundreds upon hundreds of books publish daily. You HAVE to stand out to get out! Writing the book is SO HARD, selling it is harder.

My work in the field (LOL) has proven, when in a sea of books, only the prettiest, most eye catching will find a home. Just a little food for thought :D

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