Saturday, January 3, 2009
CAN YOU JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER?
I can't stop wondering if people judge books by their covers.
I know you're not supposed to, and some might be embarrased to say they do, but I'll admit that I am drawn to certain books because they look like fun or because they look sexy.
When I first saw the hardcover jacket for Hats & Eyeglasses. I began fretting that it was too foreboding, too dark, too... well, hats and eyeglassy. I worried that women, who are my target audience, would be put off by it. I started emailing and calling my editor every five minutes to suggest changes. Can't we make the water bluer? Can the hat (which was originally a fedora) be a woman's sunhat instead? Can the glasses be more retro or feminine or 1950's or something? Can we turn the hat around? To say she had it up to here with me is akin to saying the Beatles played a little rock music.
When she called to tell me the paperback was going to have a completely different look, I was ecstatic. But then I started fretting anew. I held off until I could no longer.
I called her a few months ago. "Isn't it getting to be that time when we need to see the new cover?" I asked sweetly.
"Yes," she groaned.
"Do you have it already?" Now I was excited.
"Yes," she admitted.
She was loath to send it to me because we had had such to-do's about the last one.
"Does it have a person on it?" I asked.
"Does it look like fun?"
"Is part of it green?"
Now she hesitated. "Yes," she finally said, "but what would make you ask that?"
"I don't know, but I always thought a little of the cover should be green."
So she sent it. And when I opened the file, I started crying. It was everything I thought it should be and more. And I knew that if I saw it at the bookstore, I would buy it. Because the cover spoke to me. I am so over the moon.
Posted by Martha Frankel at 1:35 PM