We’ve all heard, or the majority of us have heard the saying, “Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover”. Yet, isn’t that what we all do?
“Yes, this phrase was originally intended to be a metaphorical one to compare two subjects. It was intended to clearly illustrate both the potential that lies within each and every one of us. It’s to remind us not to quickly move to judgment, but seek potential in others, hopefully, that most people have disregarded. It’s to tell you not to prejudge the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone”. Unfortunately, though it was mostly meant to utilize when considering people, we don’t use it in this manner, and I agree we should be doing so, but that’s another blog.
When it comes to choosing the books we want to read, however, it seems to be an accepted practice, or is it? Do we choose them by the cover?
After our book, our heart and souls work is completed and we’ve read the final galley, it’s the moment to put our time and efforts and more heart and soul into our cover. We’re told to make sure it pops, to make it unique, and we need to make it stand out from other books in it’s genre because this is how people choose their books initially. But what about online books? Not all of us have books that are on shelves of bookstores. Do we look at the covers when we shop online for our reading entertainment?
I decided to consciously note how I choose a book online. Now, you may ask, consciously? What do you mean by that? Of course we choose it consciously. Do we? I found that I don’t, and I’m certain I’m not the only one.
Online shopping is different from being in an actual bookstore. On the bookstore shelves there are numerous books lined up next to each other, and the colors emanating from these books can be overwhelming. But online, we’re not looking up books in this manner. I noticed I looked for a book in a few ways. One, specifically, was looking for a book that was recommended to me. Another way I noted a book was from the tag line and from the synopsis. If I found these appealed to me, I would then read the free sample chapters, expressly Amazon, had supplied to me. Lastly, I took note of the reviews–and I’m not referring to only the good ones. Even if there are some not-so-good reviews, that didn’t bother me. I read “how” these were written. I can usually tell if someone is attempting to be high and mighty with their reviews acting like they are the end-all and be-all of book reviews. In this case, I always dismiss their reviews. Anyway, considering books are subjective, I’m not going to take the word of one person who’s being mean just to be mean. If it’s a well-written review, even if they didn’t care for the book, I’ll take note of it. Then maybe, lastly, I note the book cover.
Unless your book is one of Amazon’s bestsellers, it won’t be popping up for anyone when they go there to shop for books. We generally head to a recommendation first. If we don’t have a recommendation, we tend to go into our genre, and hunt from there. Even when I looked in this manner, I still read the synopsis and tag line first.
This brings me to a different dilemma. I have a business acquaintance that purchased one of my books from me. The next time I saw her, she told me she liked my book–was really enjoying it, and her tone was almost a surprise. She explained why this was a surprise to her. She said normally, if she didn’t know me, she wouldn’t have picked up my book to read, but it wasn’t because of the cover. It was because of the Title. She said the title threw her, and she expected it to be completely different than it was. Then she noted the cover and saw the young woman holding a handgun. Her confession gave me pause. I started wondering how many other people, particularly women, would be turned off by my title thinking it’s a totally different read from what it is. She went on to explain after reading it, she understood why I titled it as I did, but normally she wouldn’t have chosen it.
Then I started wondering if my title was “A Woman In Love” or something similar instead, but still had her holding the handgun, if it would’ve made a difference.
I guess at this point, I’ll never know. But the next time you attempt to search for a book, whether in a bookstore or online, consider that old-time phrase, “Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover”. If you don’t, you may just find that you lost out on a new thrill, a new love, the best escape into another world, hours of wonderful entertainment, and a new favorite author to follow.