Whenever I look at the cover of a book, I like to search for the tiniest details. Reminds me of that online mystery game. You know the one where you have to find the hidden objects in the picture, which of course are clues to solving the mystery? I love reading mysteries as well as writing them. I figure the details in a book cover may be clues to the story. I know when I give a publisher's cover artist my ideas for the covers, I think of that. For instance, in DYING TO DREAM, the grave marker's dates are backwards. And no, it's not a typo! There's a very good reason for this detail. And no, again. I'm not going to tell you what it means and spoil the fun, if you decide to read my work. :-)
Take the cover for Grisham's SYCAMORE ROW. How perfect to have the tree as the focal point. But the fogginess in the background sends a message to me as well. When I first looked at the cover -- and you should know I highly recommend the book -- I wondered if the fog is meant to imply the answers to the mystery are behind it, literally and figuratively. Or maybe it's there to make the other trees seem insignificant compared to the one at the forefront. Of course, I guessed the tree would play an important role as the story unfolded. It made me curious, as all covers should do, enough to read the book.
I have noticed that some covers intentionally lack detail. Though not as interesting, they're usually done with books by brand name authors. Let's face it. If I see Stephen King's name plastered across a blank background I'm hooked -- and most likely the print size will be larger than the title's because, yes, he's a brand that sells. Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series always have a colorful solid background with her name and the title on the cover. Nothing more. It works. However, it's just not as much fun. I like the idea of a puzzling cover with its suggestive details. In teaching, it's what we call making predictions. I used to ask my students prediction questions all the time in literature class. What do you think the title implies? How about the cover? Can you make predictions on what the story will involve? Something to get the readers interested. If you think about it, by answering these questions, in an indirect way they've helped to write the story.
So, next time you search for something to read, check out those covers. The tiny details are full of enticing tidbits, beckoning to you, teasing you with predictions of what's inside. Don't ignore them, or else you may miss out on a pretty good read!
Enjoy your next great reading adventure :-)
DYING TO DREAM
DEVILISH, DEVIOUS, AND DEADLY WITH ONE BITE
KATHRYN LONG - AUTHOR WEBSITE