It’s sort of embarrassing to admit in some ways, but I definitely judge books by their covers. That’s not to say I won’t read one if the cover’s so-so or even mediocre provided I’ve had to recommended to me from a reliable source… However, I am drawn to books with covers that do not offend my eyes. And I think it’s a problem that everyone faces in the publishing industry because bad covers can come from a wide variety of sources.
Maybe this is just me but I think there is, quite frankly, nothing worse than a bad book cover. Nothing makes me crankier than the sad sadness that is the ones on Amazon or Barnes & Noble that often feature nightmare-colored font that is barely legible superimposed over someone’s black and white picture of a stretch of highway or a fugly barn. Or some really bad Boris Vallejo knock-off of a winged valkyrie on a motorcycle that you can’t see because the cover is dripping day-glo letters all over her.
I don’t care if the book enclosed is made of pure magic and rainbows. Or if a curse has been placed upon the tome in question and if only I can stop being shallow and look past its hideousness, I’ll end up with a fairy prince to marry and a pet unicorn to ride on. It’ll be hard to convince me to give the book much more than a glance as I scroll on by.
I realize it’s expensive in a lot of cases, but I really hope indie authors as well as very small presses can work on better covers or contact some nice, talented artist to work out some kind of deal. Or at the very least try to get a cover that is less offensive to the eyes and more neutral rather than a rejected design for R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps. Nothing is more important than a book cover that doesn’t take away from the book’s contents.
All the same, I would much prefer to read a book with a hideous cover if the artwork was obtained by honest means than to ever read anything from Trestle Press,* which apparently decided any and all Google Images were up for grabs for book covers with no questions asked ever. Then proceeded to lie not only to its authors but its readers and the internet in general about getting permission from artists. Just check out how much art theft was unearthed by Luis Vera (doodle777). Or this post. Or this post. Or feel free to Google “Trestle Press Art Theft” to learn more about the mishegosh known as Trestlegate.
Sadly, despite the art being removed and lots of authors doing the right thing and walking away, Trestle Press is still around. And more books are coming out very soon. It really wouldn’t surprise me if the covers were still coming though less than scrupulous channels, but beyond that? Here’s hoping that potential readers and authors can figure out what they’re getting themselves into beforehand.
* This might seem silly, but I refuse to link directly to this so-called Press for any reason whatsoever. The other posts I’ve linked to speak for themselves and give more than enough insight into what’s going on whereas the Trestle Press website will tell you nothing about it at all.