We've often heard it, we've often said it: "Don't judge a book by its cover!"
There is truth in the old proverb, of course, but whether we like it or not, a cover it's the first port of call for a reader, when they meet our book.
Think of it as the right outfit for a job interview.
Of course we can be very skilled and articulate, but walking into the room scruffy or inappropriately dressed, greatly reduces our chances of getting the job.
The same can be said for books and "how they look".
A cover immediately tells us what the story is about. Is it dark and populated by shadows, fangs, splutters of blood? We know immediately it's a horror book. Does it come with black silhouettes of couples kissing in front of a starry sky? That must be chic-lit, right?
Covers give a sense of what to expect from the story, the narrative's tone (funny, literary, melancholic, scary...), the type of characters we may encounter. Dressing a book for the part is very important and despite the old saying, people will make a first assessment based on the cover.
I'm lucky enough to have the backing and expertise of my publisher Crooked Cat Publishing. Don't want to sound biased, but I really love their covers, specially designed for each title to present every book at its best.
And just to coincide with this week's End of Summer Sale - all e-books at 77p/99c - Crooked Cat has given my novel Playing on Cotton Clouds a fabulous new cover, which I absolutely love! It perfectly captures the spirit of the novel, life snapshots of people growing up and changing through time.
What do you think? How important is a cover, when you're browsing books? Have you ever bought a book on the strength of a well thought out cover?