Kristan Higgins
Kristan Higgins


Jaunty Post

smallfrontcoverI buy books because of the covers all the time. All the time! Book covers fascinate me; they’re an art form done well. Done poorly, and they can really tank a book, too. My worst cover (which shall remain nameless) had the worst sales, too…until word-of-mouth took care of that, happily. For the record, My One and Only’s cover is my most favorite of all.


Like every author I’ve ever met, book covers are incredibly important to me. In fact, this very day, I’ll be talking to my editors about my next book cover. My publisher is quite nice and shows me the concepts beforehand, and we go back and forth a bit. I like having a dog on the cover, since it sets my books apart from the many other contemporaries out there. As an author and a reader, I prefer not to see the faces of the hero and heroine, because what if they don’t look like how I imagine them? But how can you keep doing the same thing over and over and not have the book covers feel tired? I’m not sure.


baredto youThere are trends in book covers, too. Heavens, look at all the 50 Shades of Grey references out there…I think there should be a separate section for “Books about Kinky Sex Featuring Black & White Menswear on the Covers.” The marketing geniuses at Ms. James’s publisher should get a medal, I think, packaging that book the way they did.


Beguiling_the_BeautyHistorical covers recently began focusing on the gorgeous dresses, and more power to that trend. Granted, I’d buy a Sherry Thomas novel even if the cover showed pictures of donkeys, but still. This cover is sumptuous.





greatspcoverHere’s a cover that struck me as really interesting and evocative. I don’t know what this book is about, but I downloaded it yesterday. It’s self-published, but it looks very professionally done, which is nice to see. Either the author is gifted in graphic design, or she hired someone who was.





mrpenumbraI’ve heard great things about this book, but I hate this version of the cover.







mrpenumbra2But I really like this one and would be much more prone to buying it as such.







tkam1Here’s the original cover of To Kill a Mockingbird, one of my favorite books ever.







tkam2And here’s the cover of the version I bought last year.







tkam5I would never buy this version.








Here’s a book I would never read based on the cover alone. For the record, I’m a huge fan of Jonathan Tropper and even wrote him a fan letter (he has yet to respond…hmmmph), and I did read this book, but it was in spite of the cover, not because of it.




worsteverThis one, though…I don’t care who published you or how good you might be, sir. I am not going to read this book.


Can you remember the last book you bought just because of the cover? Or a book you read in spite of the cover? How about your favorite book cover of all time? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

25 thoughts on “Judge a Book By Its Cover

  1. I’m really embarrassed to say the last time I took a chance on a book based solely on the cover was the Dead Before Dark the first Sookie Sackhouse book. And it was really good as I’m sure many of you know. I was so glad I read it. It lead me into reading urban fantasy for a while. Loved it!


  2. Liz Flaherty says:

    I don’t pay that much attention to covers (other than my own 😳 ), but that one of To Kill A Mockingbird makes me think maybe I should. My copy had the first one and I loved every word every time I read it, but I might never have done so if the only cover I’d seen was that last one.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Even though we’ve all heard the sentiment most of our lives….I’ve always judged books by their covers.
    I scan bookshelves for covers that catch my eye and then look who the author is…usually my taste in covers coincides with my favorite authors.

  4. KathyP says:

    I admit that book covers do influence my buying, not as much when I get ebooks and don’t see the cover every time I close the book. I don’t like cover fads (like the 50 Shades) and every book starts looking the same no matter who the author is of the book. Of course, with the new look of erotica books they are now being sold in places like Target ;-). I do like when the cover matches or represents what is inside. This means to me that the person(s) responsible for designing the cover have taken the care to have actually read it or listened to the author. For example, the J.D. Robb “In Death” book covers have a bottom banner with pictures of items in a collage that give clues as to specific things that will show up inside the book.

  5. Tania says:

    Last time I bought a book because of its cover was Jaci Burton’s The Perfect Play. I loved the book & have now bought the entire series & everything else I can find of hers, all because of that one cover! I recommend that you use her covers in your next “Man War” with Jill Shalvis!

    I don’t usually let the cover influence whether or not I buy a book. The cover does, however, dictate whether or not I’ll leave a book lying face up or face down on my coffee table. Does that sound crazy!?! Your covers never get put Face Down! They are always tasteful.

    It bothers me when the cover artist clearly has not read the book. If the hero is blond on the cover, he needs to be blond in the book! And don’t put a giraffe (or any other random thing) on the cover if there’s not a giraffe (again, or any random thing) featured in the book! Whew! Glad I got that off my chest…

  6. Have a happy Cover Consult Day!

    I can’t recall the last book I bought because of the cover, but do distinctly remember a book of my own (which shall also remain nameless) that I could Never. Find. On. The. Shelf. It was there, it just disappeared into the crowd! I consulted on the art, approved it, loved it … but it just didn’t stand out. Sigh.

    Wishing you a wonderful stand-out of a cover!

  7. carol karlin says:

    When the author is new to me, the cover is what will often clinch it for me. I don’t like when the cover picture doesn’t match the description of the characters in the book…

  8. The last book I bought based on the cover was the Haunting of Maddy Clare. And if a cover has a moody black and white photo of Paris, the book just leaps into my hands!

  9. Laura Moore says:

    I find it really interesting how my much covers have changed over the years. I feel like I’ve had it all: pastoral landscapes, mock-Sandals Resort commercials, long-limbed females, and now hunky men who can’t seem to button their shirts…not that I’m complaining!

    I adore the cover of My One and Only, too, Kristan. It’s so clever and fits the story perfectly.

  10. Shana Shana says:

    I love to buy historicals with gorgeous dresses on the cover. I hate literary books with ugly covers. I sometimes wonder how much cover matters in the digital age because though I look at the cover when I buy an e-book, I don’t really see it again after I start reading.

  11. Cheryl says:

    Buying a book because/or inspite of the cover varies. If the book is written by one of my favorite authors, I will buy it regardless. However, I am really drawn to covers that have dogs on them. That is how I discovered your books. I am not interested in stories about vampires or such, so if the cover depicts a vampire, I do not even pick the book up.

  12. Laura says:

    I’m honestly not surprised that you feel a cover is important as I find yours to be some of the best out there. The dog is key and a pull for me. 🙂 A cover is hugely important to me and definitely determines 90% of the time if I will buy a book (although, admittedly the Kindle and ebooks help with this for some reason). Probably the last books I read despite the cover was Shalvis’s Wilder series. Just not a fan of those covers…but loved her anyway and, of course, loved the series.

  13. The cover has to grab me first before I look at a book. Though sometimes I’ll buy a book based on a review or an article about it.

  14. Joy says:

    I rarely buy a book based on the cover. I have to read what it’s about and that and the author if I know them is what clinches it. The people (and animals) never look like what I imagine them anyway.

  15. I would say that most often, I buy books IN SPITE of the cover. What sucks me in is the back cover blurb and – if that works for me – the first couple of pages of the book.

  16. Lorelei's Lit Lair says:

    Covers are very important to me, if I’m not looking for a book by author. It also gives a feel for the type of read. I want to be able to read in public places and not have to be embarrassed by the cover either. The pups on your covers drew my attention to pick it from the shelf. I didn’t know you by name. Your covers were different from the rest. I also prefer book covers where they don’t show faces, I want to imagine it myself.

  17. catslady says:

    I agree with you on your choices. I have tons (and I mean tons lol) of books and there are so many gorgeous covers out there. I love being surrounded by them. I rarely love the cutsey covers but I’m pretty open to most. A cover will get me to pick up the book so that in itself is important but I have to like the blurb in the back too.

  18. Heather E says:

    Covers are important to me, especially if the author is new to me. If the cover catches my eye I am more likely to read the description. However, if the author is one I know then the cover is not so important. I discovered both Jaci Burton and Lorelei James because of their covers when I first bought my nook. I love Jaci’s Play-By-Play series and Lorelei’s Rough Riders so much I have paper copies in my library so I can oogle them anytime I want to (often actually). I like that your books are all similar but each unique. They look good together in my print library (right next to my Jill Shalvis books). My favorite cover of yours is Just One of the Guys. Love it!

  19. Rochelle says:

    Great questions! I discovered your books through the a cover. Catch of the Day caught my eye, so I got it, read it, and became obsessed with all your books. I love all the covers, not to mention that the contents and stories are amazing!

    Like some of the others, I don’t necessarily like to see full head shots as I like to imagine how someone looks through the authors’ descriptions.

  20. kate rothwell says:

    when I first discovered romances, I’d routinely rip the covers off. I think that’s the only time I ever regularly noticed covers.

  21. Melody May says:

    I’m a cover whore. I will buy when it’s a gorgeous or hot cover. I just it’s as good as the cover.

  22. Mary Anne Landers says:

    Thank you for your post, Kristan. I’m a big fan of cover art, especially in the romance genre.

    I can remember well the last time I bought a book simply because I loved the cover. It was also the first time I did so. The text was awful, so I never did that again. What’s the title, and who wrote it? Ah, now that would be telling!

    What’s my all-time favorite cover? I can’t say. I have just too many favorites!

    Keep up the good work!

  23. I bought Bec McMaster’s KISS OF STEEL for the cover! It’s a Victorian historical steampunk/vampire romance and the cover is soooo intense and sexy…. And, the story was great, too!

  24. Karen says:

    I generally buy books upon recommendations/reviews. If I like the blurb of a book and it has a hideous cover then I’ll still buy the book. At the same time if I see a cover I adore but the blurb doesn’t sound like something I’d enjoy then I wouldn’t buy it…I might just drool over it for a little while lol.

    The last book I purchased purely because I loved the cover was Allie Larkin’s Stay…I just couldn’t resist the german shepherd puppy (my favourite breed of dog). It was a great novel. I love that your books have dogs on their covers Kristan.

    Another reason to love my Kindle is that if a book has a really ‘saucy’ cover I don’t have to try and hide it when I’m out and about!

  25. Karen says:

    The cover is the first thing that grabs me! If I see something I like I will then usually read the reviews and stuff and take it from there. Unless of course, I already know I love an author. I have a few that I would probably buy their books if they had a blank cover! 🙂

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