Judging a Book by its Cover: Reflections on the Cassie Scot Cover | Miki's Hope

Judging a Book by its Cover: Reflections on the Cassie Scot Cover

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I would like to thank Christine Amsden, the author of Cassie Scott, Paranormal Detective for writing such a lovely guest post for my readers! My review of this book will go live on 6/6/2013---I really loved this book as you will read and just know that all of you will love it as well. And yes, I DO love the cover!!!




Whether they should be or not, books are judged by their covers. Cover artwork is the first and most prominent representation of a book and as we all know, a picture is worth a thousand words. (It's a cliché for a reason!) As an avid reader I understand the reality. As an author I confess that it feels weird to have my art (the story itself) judged by someone else's art (a cover picture).

Let me start by saying that I don't create my own covers. Most authors don't. Most of us have little control over them, although I'm happy to say that my publisher gives me more input than usual.

The cover art for Cassie Scot was painted by Ural Akyuz. Wait, painted? Yes, that's right. If this cover strikes you as a bit different from other urban fantasy novels then that's probably because the popular trend these days is for photo manipulation. This style does create striking, vivid, even beautiful images, but I confess that I've got a soft spot for handcrafted art. Photographs are almost too perfect. Paintings leave me with a sense of the abstract. This seems particularly fitting since the title, with the “para” in “paranormal” struck through, is also abstract.

I really like the cover for this book. I didn't care for the cover for my last book, The Immortality Virus, so this is something of a relief! It has also been something of a relief that the response to the cover artwork from the public has been generally positive. I've seen one naysayer (that doesn't mean there aren't more) who thought the cover looks dull compared to others in the same genre. Well, like I said, we didn't do the photo manipulation for this project. If you're in love with that style, this may seem a little dull. I prefer to think of it as different, but to each his own. :)

In case the picture isn't giving you a thousand words, here are a few hundred more to help fill in the details for you:

The woman on the cover is Cassie, more or less as I envisioned her when I wrote her. I even provided the artist with a link to a picture of the outfit she is wearing, though he adjusted the color to better suit the background. She’s looking off into the distance, thinking of… well, any number of things. This series is written in the first person, and a lot of it takes place inside Cassie’s head. There is a mystery, some romance, and even a bit of action, but her own desire to be something more than she is drives the story. It will drive the entire series, actually, only resolving in the final volume.

There is a glow coming from the lake, one the crescent moon can’t fully account for. This is an abstract, a representation of a source of magic that Cassie can’t see and is therefore not looking at, though she knows it’s there somewhere. It is intentionally subtle, and I don’t expect readers to pick up on it. It’s enough that I know it’s there, and if you care to buy into it, then so do you.

Mostly though what I asked for, and what I got, was lovely cover art. There is some darkness in this story, but it is full of light, life, and hope. The leaves are green, the plants are in bloom, and Cassie has a snapdragon tucked behind her ear.

The body of water in the background is Table Rock Lake, a man-made lake that stretches for many miles through southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas. The story takes place in a fictionalized town called Eagle Rock, MO, a tourist town on Table Rock Lake in the Ozark Mountains.

There is a real Eagle Rock, by the way. An old friend of my grandfather’s used to live there years ago, and my family visited him when I was a child. He would take us out on the lake on his motor boat. I can’t remember exactly what made me think to use the town’s name and location for this story, but I assure you, it is fictionalized. The real Eagle Rock has a population of 1 or 2 dozen people, and if you blink driving through, you’ll miss it. It was a beautiful area, though, and going with the advice “write what you know,” I decided it would suit this story nicely.

Ural Akyutz should be available to do the artwork for the rest of the series, which will give the books a consistent look and feel. I was nervous while waiting for the cover artwork for this book – more anxious nervous than excited nervous because of the experience I'd had with The Immortality Virus. Now as I anticipate the cover artwork for Secrets and Lies, the second book in the Cassie Scot series, I am excited anxious.

It still feels weird to have my story judged by Ural's artwork, but I stand behind it. I've used the cover artwork on facebook, twitter, google+, and have it printed on the bookmarks I hand out to readers I meet in person.

Whether the cover is to your taste or not, I hope you'll consider judging my book by its first couple of chapters. That is unapologetically mine – my voice, my style, my character. I have a prominent link to them on my web site or you can find them here: First Chapters.




28 comments :

Kristi said...

I like the cover. To me it is interesting and unusual to see a painting for a cover. My first impression is "classy" and this is most likely a "good read". I am intrigued now and will check out chapter one!

Kim Croisant said...

I'm guilty - I judge books by their cover...and back page too. I like to read the back cover. Then I flip to see pictures, then I might read it. Hey, what do I know...I'm not a reader really. I LOVE reading to my son and I read magazines and sometimes I read self help books...cuz I need it. Happy Thursday Everyone!!

My Journey With Candida said...

You are so right about a book being judged by it cover. I wrongly do it myself.

Leovi said...

Yes sometimes make preconceived judgments only by its cover ...!

Christine Amsden said...

Thanks for hosting! I'm looking forward to your review next week. :)

I didn't mention in the post, but I should probably say that I do not judge a book by its cover ONLY because I rarely see them before I read a book. I get the vast majority of my books through the national library for the blind (I'm visually impaired) and they don't include cover artwork in their catalogue.

I am an avid reviewer on Goodreads and most of the time my first glimpse of the cover is when I go to post my review there. It's a different experience seeing the cover after I read the book. Most of the time I think the cover has almost nothing to do with the story I read.

This isn't the same as saying I'm not guilty of judging books by their covers -- when I happen to see the cover first I do judge it. But there are so many books out there that make me think, "Man, I'm glad I didn't see that cover first. I would never have picked it up and it was SO good!"

Danielle Royalegacy said...

The cover may intrigue me a bit, but I like to read what a book is about, too. There are many times that I pick up a book with a great cover only to find out that what's inside just isn't worth it.

Not with this book. I just spent the time to read the first few chapters. Sounds quite interesting, and I am afraid I would like to read on.

Diane Holland said...

I have to admit that I do look at the cover, as well as read the back of the book. To me, the picture on the cover kind of helps form an image in your mind of what the contents are talking about. That may be just me though.

Melissa Tiffany said...

I didn't know that you didn't have much of a say in the book cover! I don't understand that! It's your work insode those covers~ you should have total say on how it's represented!!
I am so glad that this cover turned out well. You must be so relieved!
I don't put much stock in cover art though because they all look like GCI's to me. They're all kinda' that same, an impossibly pretty, not realistic girl on the front! :)
Tiffany

Shannon Marie Baker said...

I love anything Paranormal!

Chubskulit Rose said...

I am back to reading, thanks to you as you inspired me. This one would be a good read too.

My Journey With Candida said...

I had no idea that an author didn't choose their own cover. If I could write... I would want to choose what went on the outside too.

Margaret said...

I'm not into covers but the back jacket, yeah I have personally missed out on some very good books because of that.

becca said...

this makes me want to check this book out

Corinne said...

I like the cover. I am glad that you found an artist who was able to convey what you wanted since it's hard to get inside someone else's head (or let them in yours). I know we're not supposed to judge a book by it's cover, but because there are so many books to choose from, I think most of us do it anyway to save time!

Nicole A. said...

If I have never heard of a book before I first look at the cover and then read the little info bit on the flap.

bonnie holt said...

This book sounds like a great read and I will be checking this out .

Cyndie said...

That parnormal stuff scares me!

Jennifer Williams said...

I love the cover and the fact that input on the design from the author was allowed. I have seen so many that I did not like the cover and never realized that authors never had input. I would love to read this book.

Patricia Woolverton said...

I agree about judging the cover. I will not buy a book if the cover does not look interesting to me. I think the same goes for most of what we buy. If food labels are not appealing we tend to shy away from it.

Marms @ Mhar's Display said...

I don't really look at the cover. I read the introduction about the book. If it interest me, I'll read it.

Melinda Dunne said...

I have to laugh because my son and I were just talking about this yesterday. We were actually even going to do a poll on my blog with different books to see what readers would read based on the cover. I try to always find out what the story is about when I chose a book.

Celebrate Woman said...

The book cover does play a huge role in attracting me. Of course I would read through a bit to get a feel for a book. But the cover is a very important piece in the book publishing. The success does depend on it, too.

jheylo said...

Normally i get attracted with the book cover first too then that's when i start checking the inside of the book.

jheylo said...

Normally i get attracted with the book cover first too then that's when i start checking the inside of the book.

Mel Cole said...

I sometimes judge the book by its cover when I take out from it's bookshelf. Nice cover for that book, the girl is viewing a night scenery. I like that.

Healy Harpster said...

I can't deny the fact that book covers and book titles are what really get my interest to buy the book first. That is on beautiful book cover.

Michelle Garrett said...

Love the cover. It definitely is one that would cause me to pause in the bookstore. Thank you for the insight on how cover art for books are done. i really thought authors had more input. Very good information to know.

nova hedges said...

Very interesting and intriguing.. a good book to read esp when you like paranormal

 
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