First she notes any local tie. A handwritten sticky note or a mention in the media page at the front of an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) will do. So will a letter accompanying the book. She’ll even flip over the book and read the back to see if there’s a local tie.
Second she asks herself if her readers will be interested in the book. If the book might be a better fit for another Post-Dispatch department, she forwards it.
Third she considers the quality of the book. “Quality matters in all aspects,” she explained. She evaluates the writing, storyline, characters and the quality of the publication. Of course, to check out the first three elements, she has to read a summary of the book. But to determine that last critical decision point, she peruses the product itself. If the book if obviously self-published, Jane has to weigh another factor: Will it be available to her readers? One of the biggest problems for self-published authors is distribution. Jane doesn’t want to cover a book that her readers can’t find.
Jane admitted that telling whether a book is self-published is getting harder and harder. One clue can be the cover art.
I have to admit, when I choose a book by an author new to me the cover matters a lot. Life’s too short for ugly books. Okay, I’m teasing. Some. When it’s an older book, I don’t mind the appearance so much. But for a new one? I care a lot. To be fair, I also care about the interior design. Recently I picked up a book where to make the left and right side margins flush with an imaginary margin, huge gaps appeared between words. Not only did it look awful, but it was terribly hard to read. And I read fast. This particular bit of erratic spacing slowed me down. I nearly tossed the book in the trash. But it was written by a friend. I really wanted to mention to her that the publisher had done her a great disservice. But as my husband pointed out, "What's the upside?"
As Jane talked about quality, I bit back a smile. The cover for my new mystery arrived this week. You’re the first to see it. In my humble opinion, Midnight Ink has the best covers in the business. I love mine!
What do you think? Do you like my cover? Does the appearance of a book matter to you?