Can We Judge A Book By Its Cover?

Early in my writing career I grabbed every novel I could find in the series romance genre to get a feel for what authors were writing and publishers were buying.  I remember one in particular.  The novel was charming, the cover was so truly horrific that I kept going back to look at it as I read. 

Could the people depicted right there on the front for all the world to see, actually be the attractive, lovable characters in this book?  Do I remember the story?  Nope.  Do I remember the cover?  Vividly.

Early in my mystery career I remember being grabbed by yet another cover.  Cottage garden flowers adorned the front of a stone house, but the lovely blossoms all had faces, scary faces.  I snatched that one off the bookstore shelf, terrified someone else would reach for it first.  Do I remember the story?  Nope.  Do I remember the cover?  Vividly.

I think of these two books every time I see a new cover for one of my books.  No one will ever convince me covers don’t matter.  If a cover doesn’t represent the story, if the characters look like road kill on the highway of life, if colors jar or a design looks like someone’s first attempt at Photoshop, the book will suffer.

With that in mind I was particularly outspoken about my next cover.  The novel, One Mountain Away, is the first in my new series, Goddesses Anonymous, set in Asheville, North Carolina.  You can imagine that the first book in a series needs to jump off bookshelves into reader’s arms.  I knew the cover needed beautiful mountain views, because Asheville’s the kind of place where you can aim your camera in almost any direction and gasp at your own results.

I didn’t see the cover until my publisher “finished” it.  I wasn’t happy.  The good news is that after lots of negotiation and publisher goodwill, changes were made.  Great changes.  So today I can happily present to you the new cover for One Mountain Away.  I hope you’ll like it as much as I do. 

I would love to hear your opinion, and as always I’ll value your comments.  In the long run, what I think and what my publisher thinks are immaterial.  What you think, what you reach for at your favorite bookstore in August, will make all the difference.


  1. Lee Ann on February 17, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Beautiful cover! I can’t wait to start reading. Congratulations!!

  2. Patty Draper on February 17, 2012 at 9:17 am

    A book cover that for sure would capture my eye and attention! So pretty and mysterious –makes me wonder what she’s seeing, thinking, doing!

  3. Audrey Bonnell on February 17, 2012 at 9:18 am

    “Oh ” I love it Emilie I think it reflects the title of the book wonderfully. Can’t wait to read this and and the rest of the series.

  4. Debbie Hearne on February 17, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Emilie, the cover is breathtaking. It reaches out to me and I want to own it! I love Asheville, NC, one of my favorite places to visit (close also)! I look forward to this new series!

  5. Marjorie Roberts on February 17, 2012 at 9:33 am

    The cover is perfect for Asheville. I love it. I also noticed that Sherryl Woods is on the cover and know that if she loved it, then so will I. August is going to be on my weekly planner for One Mountain Away. The cover does matter to me, unless the book is by an author that I frequent. Most covers illustrate whether the book is a Regency novel, paranormal, romance, contemporary or historical romance, etc. The covers you use are all beautiful. I wish that I could read this one NOW.

  6. Lori on February 17, 2012 at 9:42 am

    What a beautiful cover! Can’t wait!

  7. Marilyn Seitz on February 17, 2012 at 9:49 am

    looks fantastic! Can’t wait to read it. I spent some of my childhood in Asheville and still love it!

  8. Becky B. on February 17, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Pretty cover. Ya know, it’s the cover that does grab my eye first, then the authors name and then the title. I love book series so I am particularly excited about yours.

  9. CathyC in Alberta on February 17, 2012 at 11:22 am

    I think this cover is spectacular. They are one of the things that draws me to that section of a bookstore. Need to see what it is about. But, I love all your books and go directly to your name anyway!
    One of my pet peeves is when a book is released with one cover, then a later issue comes out with a totally different cover. I would buy thinking it was one I hadn’t read…grrrrrrr!

    • Emilie Richards on February 17, 2012 at 12:07 pm

      CathyC, I can guarantee you that this is an author’s pet peeve, as well. We try to make sure our readers know the books are being reissued, but it’s not always something we can control. This will definitely be the cover for this one, though. We worked too hard to get it right to make changes.

  10. Mary C in WA on February 17, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I love the cover and the Title! Can hardly wait, I’ve needed a NEW book to read for a while now.

  11. Nancy Badertscher on February 17, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    we’re on the road again today. This time heading north from ATL and will be passing through Asheville in a couple of hours on the way to a family gathering to celebrate my mom’s 90th birthday tomorrow in east TN. The new cover looks intriguing – would definitely appeal to me, but since I read everything you write I mainly like to see your name on the cover!

    • Emilie Richards on February 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      I should put up covers more frequently. The nice words have made my day. Say hi to Asheville for me as you pass through. I’ll be there in April.

  12. Wanda on February 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Covers are what often attract me to new books/authors. It is the cover that calls my name when I walk by. If the cover does not catch my eye I often pass over a book until later when I hear from friends that it is a good read.
    This cover would catch my eye and draw me to it, and that leads to a purchase. There are books that called to me three times before I bought them, by authors at the time unknown, who later became friends whose books I look forward to being released..
    Your books are like an old friend calling me to read. I look forward to this one coming out in August.
    I would also love another Shenandoah Valley novel.

  13. Tina Huneycutt on February 17, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    I love it! And am looking forward to the book!

  14. Lynn Ross - Toledo on February 18, 2012 at 12:40 am

    Great art work! I love the colors: a blend of cool and warm. Does that describe the heroine, I wonder? It is a lovely cover, Emilie. I think it was an excellent choice. Of course, I need no lure except your name, but if your name weren’t on this one, I would be compelled to open the book because of the intriguing picture.

    • Emilie Richards on February 18, 2012 at 10:21 am

      In some ways it does describe Charlotte, who is a heroine trying to put her life back to rights. What an interesting insight, Lynn. And thank you for simply buying on my name. I think great covers are for readers who either don’t know an author or are ambivalent about his/her work. They may need a boost to give the author another chance, or a boost to simply stop and say, “I haven’t read this one, but this looks like an interesting story.”

  15. Marna on February 19, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Despite the adage, I think every reader judges a book by its cover at some point. Very nice cover here, I think a lot of people will be reading for it.

  16. Pamela Feinberg on February 21, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Love the cover Emilie! I agree that a cover sells the book.
    I first look at the cover, then pick it up and read the jacket to get an idea of what the book is about. But to me, the cover tells all. The cover for your new book is breathtaking. It takes my breath away. Can’t wait to read it!

  17. Pat Sears on February 22, 2012 at 11:18 am

    I totally agree with you that the cover should reflect the story. Your cover for One Mountain Away is great. Can’t wait to reas this book. Love all your stories!!

    • Emilie Richards on February 22, 2012 at 11:26 am

      Not only am I happy everyone seems to like this cover, I’m particularly happy you took the time to tell me. Thanks to all.

  18. sandra on June 29, 2012 at 1:32 am

    WHY would they question THE cover is what gets US to pick- up the book YOU ARE RIGHT!

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