In recent years, society has been pushing this idea that you can’t judge a book by its cover. It’s been in every teen movie where the loner is really cool and misunderstood. It’s been the go-to phrase for people who don’t look smart and are, in fact, not smart. It’s the cheesy one-liner in every action movie. This idea comes up over and over again, and I think somebody finally needs to point out the obvious — you totally can judge a book by its cover.
This saying came from a time when a good cover meant there weren’t a ton of nicks in the leather. They were all exactly the same and what was on them didn’t reflect the book at all. To say “oh boy this one’s a darker tan, it’s gotta be good!” is absolutely ridiculous. Just propaganda pushed on us by the leather industry.
These days, there are all kinds of covers and we have some amazing artists to make them. It’s actually disrespectful to just write off all their hard work because all the cool kids are doing it. It may be catchy to say otherwise, but you can tell a lot from the cover.
Is there a lone pair of dusty shoes, probably with a single light source over it? Yeah, that book is a sad person who can’t do what they love until they figure out how to do what they love. Is there a house on a cover? Yeah, that one’s about a family going through hard times, but in the end, they remember they’ve got each other.
Can you almost see where they airbrushed out the “stock image” watermark? Well, that’s a textbook and it has nothing to do with that stock image. If it’s for a younger grade, there will be a child in it. Preferably, staring at something that is not nearly as interesting as they’re making it out to be.
If it’s very monotone except for a teenage girl and/or some strange logo, congrats on stumbling into teenage dystopian fiction. The first one is good, but the rest are pretty meh.
We’ve got art on our covers now. We’ve got sleeves that go over those old, bland covers. We have people who have gone to college to figure out how to design this cover. Get your head out of the sand sheeple.