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Book buzz, cover design, and a confession. | Laura Pauling

Book buzz, cover design, and a confession.

Looking back on my past year of reading, I’ve come to some decisions.

I will no longer buy a book based on book buzz and cover design. This will be hard. But I will wait.

Too many times this year I just had to, I mean just had to read certain books. The premise interested me. The book had a rockin’ cover. The kind you want to hold next to you and stroke the pretty picture on and off during the day. And the book got major buzz. Call me a sucker.

Okay, sometimes this paid off. Most recently I bought these three books for the previously mentioned reasons and it paid off. I loved them!

Sadly, there were several books I purchased for previously mentioned reasons and they disappointed. I shoulda waited. I shoulda read the reviews because it turns out I wasn’t the only one who had certain issues with them. I shoulda gone with my gut when I read the first page and didn’t get that confirmation of insta-love.

That’s not to say these books were badly written or weren’t entertaining. I finished them.

On the other hand, I will be willing to try books that have a terrible cover. As in at least read the first chapter, especially if it’s at my library!

Because I almost missed out on this incredible book.

(Seriously? Is that the best cover they could come up with?)

And, okay, here’s my confession. I’ve had this one arc for a few months. I didn’t even read the first page because the cover was so unappealing and I didn’t get the title at all. When I finally opened it, I didn’t make it past the first page. It wasn’t the book. It was me. It’s the kind of book I need to give more than a page. But sometimes I end up loving those kinds of books.

Can you guess which book I’ve shrugged off for months?

Yeah, that’s right. I feel like such a schmuck.

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30 Responses to Book buzz, cover design, and a confession.

  1. Natalie Aguirre January 25, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    I buy most of my books based on what sounds good from other bloggers and that I’ll give away on my blog. The rest I have to wait to come in at the library.

    I recently finished Shatter Me and loved it too.

  2. Andrea January 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    Laura, my daughters totally rely on the cover when it comes to deciding what to read. My older daughter would reject a book, simple because it had “a bad cover”. I often had to work hard to persuade her to get past that and read a little bit to see if she liked it.

    When it comes to buying books now, I often wait until the library gets it and read before I buy. Sometimes I have to wait a long time, but the books I have are ones I truly love and want to keep.

  3. Stina Lindenblatt January 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    I’m with you Laura. I’m holding back on those books with a lot of hype from strangers. If a friend of mine reads it and loves it, there’s a greater chance I’ll get the book. But since my bookshelf is filled with books I haven’t read yet, this shouldn’t be a problem. I’m trying to finish them all first. The only books that are guaranteed buys this year are those from series that I’m in love with (or if I loved the author’s previous books).

  4. christine danek January 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    I’m a sucker too. I admit it. Darn beautiful covers. I’ve heard such good things about the books you’ve mentioned. I have to find that thing where you can put more hours in the day. If you find it, let me know. Thanks.

    • Laura January 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

      I think it’s human nature to judge a book by its cover but unless I hear good things from my blogger friends, that the book held up to its hype, I’m just not purchasing it!
      Though, another book I didn’t mention that has received a ton of hype and that I actually loved, is The Tempest by Julie Cross.

  5. Susan Kaye Quinn January 25, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    I think you’re brave to fight past the bad-cover-dilemma, but you’re fighting human nature with that. Hopefully great books/bad covers will get great buzz…and then better covers!! LOL

  6. Marisa January 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    I so hear ya! I spent money on a couple hardbacks with excellent hype last year…. and decided never to do that again. I have a few friends who know what I love, and love what I love, and it’s their recommendations I’ll go with from now on 🙂

    As for Ali Cross’s book – yippee that you loved it, because it’s sitting here on my bookshelf and I can’t wait to start reading!

  7. Creepy Query Girl January 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    Yeah- I think it’s something all rookie blogging writers/readers go through in the beginning. Everything is ‘oh look! shiny cover!’ but eventually I think after we make the mistake of buying into all of that a few times, we learn to wait. i know I have too.

  8. Jill Kemerer January 25, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    I’m sooo feeling this Laura. I dropped my subscription to RTBookReviews last year to save money, but recently, I decided it’s money well spent. I’m tired of trying to figure out what books will be worth it. It’s not just the money–it’s the time.

    Quality reviewers make my life easier!

  9. Heather Sunseri January 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    I admit. I judge books by their covers. I have a list of debut authors I want to try early this year, and I’m trying to decide if I should wait for more reviews to come out or take the chance. I have a stack of books at home I never made past the first chapter or so of debut authors from last year. And I hate that. Wasted money.

  10. Matthew MacNish January 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    Because of the tendencies of my buying habits, it’s rarely got anything to do with the cover when I select a book to buy, but I will admit, that last cover is just confusing.

  11. shelley moore thomas January 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    I think those last two covers look remarkably similar…so much so that I might confuse one with the other. Boy in white shirt, jeans, blue background, title on some sort of yellowness…..

    And I have a hard time not judging books by their cover. But I force myself to get past it. I would have never picked up The Book Thief based upon the cover alone, and it is one of my favorites!

    Shelley

    • Laura January 25, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

      Thanks everyone! I think it finally caught up to me because I didn’t start investing in new releases until about a year ago. I think it was extremely helpful for me to see what was selling, how marketing affected the books, so I don’t regret it. My library does not stock most new releases, though, so the ones I really want to read, I do purchase. But lately, I think that waiting a month for some reviews will be extremely helpful.

  12. Susan Sipal January 25, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    Covers and buzz definitely influence me, but I think what pushes me to buy a book the most is recommendations from friends who know me. Also, I tend to read a lot of nonfiction, and those are based on subjects that I want to explore.

    It is VERY hard to push past a bad cover even there, though.

  13. Patti January 25, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    I’m definitely lured in by a great cover and premise, but like you I’ve been disappointed with a few books lately.

    What I’ve decided is not to buy the second book in a series unless I really like it.

  14. Karen Strong January 25, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    We are thinking alike. I loves a pretty cover. When I’m bookstore browsing, I must admit, these are the books that get my attention.

    But this year, I’m going to wait as well. I really need to concentrate on my own writing. I don’t think I will read as many books this year because of that too.

  15. Laura Marcella January 25, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    LoL, that’s too funny! I hadn’t even heard of Dead End in Norvelt until it received the Newbery Medal so I’m looking forward to reading it.

  16. Donna K. Weaver January 25, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    You made me smile with this post, but I totally get it. Covers can draw me in or turn me away.

  17. Jenny Lundquist January 25, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    I am so guilty of all of the above. I also procrastinate on reading a book if I don’t like the layout on the inside. It’s superficial, I know, but I do it. Like others have said, that’s one of the reasons why I value book bloggers so much. My time is limited and my book budget is even more limited so the value of a good reviewer can’t be underestimated.

  18. Lynda R Young January 25, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    I’ve taken to reading the sample chapters now before I buy. I’ve given up on the covers too even though I’m sooooo attracted to books by their covers.

  19. Ghenet Myrthil January 25, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    It’s unfortunate that so many great books get not-so-great covers. Because so many people use that to decide whether to pick one up. Lately I’ve selected books based on feedback from my friend or other bloggers. It’s been a while since I picked up a book on my own without knowing people thought it was good.

  20. Alex J. Cavanaugh January 25, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    I rarely pay attention to buzz, although a great cover will pull me in every time. However, I will buy my blogger buddies’ books regardless of cover.

    • Laura January 25, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

      The problem is when the buzz is good and everyone out there is saying they love it….but that’s other authors, people I don’t know. I need to look at reviews and see what my writing friends thinks before I purchase. Plus, I’ve read so many terrific self published books lately.

  21. Jennifer Hoffine January 26, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    In audiobooks, I’m stil constrained by the library…even Audible doesn’t have all the buzz/cover worthy titles right away…I always thought that was a detriment as a blogger, but I guess it does have its advantages.

    Just finished Imaginary Girls today…the content definitely lived up to the cover, for me too.

  22. becca puglisi January 26, 2012 at 3:25 am #

    I read books based on the title, the blurb, and recommendations. Very rarely does a cover sell me, though covers will frequently turn me off. The last two you mentioned, for example, lol. I’m not drawn to read those, but they’re getting so much buzz that I guess I should put them on my list.

    Becca @ The Bookshelf

  23. Leslie Rose January 26, 2012 at 4:10 am #

    I am a cover junkie. Could be that degree in design tapping me on the shoulder. The cover of Shine was the last one to take my breath away. BTW – I think we should swap houses and take each other’s Christmas tree down.

  24. Sophia Chang January 26, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    I spent all of 2011 learning the hard way about book buzz. So many books were built up so high that when I read them I was disappointed, more than I would have been without all the hype.

    Since I’m focusing this year on my Dusty Bookshelf challenge – books I already own – I’m going to be more insulated from buzz so hopefully I can cut down on the letdowns.

  25. Christina Lee January 26, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    So so true! And those last two books are on my radar now too –guess it’s true that it all comes down to the WRITING! 😀

  26. Sherrie Petersen January 27, 2012 at 3:55 am #

    I borrowed Okay for Now from a friend but I haven’t read Dead End. Both have terrible covers. What is with that? Shatter Me was really good. Shine is another one with a cover that I’m still scratching my head over. Not sure what it’s supposed to signify, but the book is AMAZING.

  27. Marcia January 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    Wow. I didn’t realize till this minute that the covers of OFN and DEIN are so similar! So does that mean this is what people think will grab boy readers? I read OFN months ago and was JUST about to start DEIN when it was announced as the winner. I like it, but still am not sure if, for me, its sheer power equals OFN.

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