What do readers want?: 06/01/17
1. A gorgeous and plot relevant cover. It shouldn't spoil the plot but it should show an understanding of the story and better, enhance it some way.
The cover for Traveling Light Lynne Branard (2017) gets so close to being the perfect cover and then drops the ball with one key detail, the car. Her car which is practically its own character in this road trip novel is a "cherry red, 1998 VW" not a 1960s-1970s sky blue, air cooled VW.
2. A catchy and easy to remember title. For instance, Adulthood is a Myth, the first of the Sarah Scribble's books, is easy to remember and funny. Her follow up book from this year, Big Mushy Happy Lump is hard for me to remember. I usually end up having to go to my iPhone to verify the title of the book.
3. A well crafted book. If it's a print book, it should be well constructed and beautifully designed — even paperbacks should have good construction, good design. An ebook should be a well coded epub. If it's a graphic novel, the images should be high enough resolution to zoom in on a phone or tablet. An audiobook should have an engaging narrator who can take on the different characters and tones without sounding out of breath or bored.
4. Representation without stereotypes. Tropes without cliches. Basically I want a book that doesn't take the easy road. I want a book populated with people who are relatable but push my boundaries, enhance my understanding of the human condition — even if I'm reading fluff.
5. Illustrations. Books used to be illustrated. Let's bring that back, even for the adult fiction.
Comment #1: Thursday, June 01, 2017 at 10:22:54
Never thought about the cover but you're right about the need for it to reflect the story in some way. Had to laugh at them getting the color of the VW Bug wrong! Sort of like having a tall, willowy blonde on the cover when the main character is a short, dumpy brunette!
And yes about a well-crafted book! I've had to stop reading several ebooks that weren't properly formatted and it's beyond annoying.
Comment #2: Thursday, June 01, 2017 at 15:49:00
Right? I'd rather have a plain cover with just text than have an image that is fundamentally wrong given the contents of the book.
Comment #3: Thursday, June 01, 2017 at 11:30:02
OMG- this "A gorgeous and plot relevant cover." YES! how hard is it to make the car the right color? Sometimes this kills me inside :/
Comment #4: Thursday, June 01, 2017 at 15:52:00
The really annoying thing about that example is I had bought the book because of the cover — and I would have still purchased it if I had featured a modern red VW.
Comment #5: Thursday, June, 01, 2017 at 12:29:09
Yes to #4! That is so important to me, no matter what I'm reading.
Comment #6: Thursday, June 01, 2017 at 15:55:00
Representation is what I've been focusing on most in this year's reading.
Comment #7: Thursday, June 01, 2017 at 13:38:17
Oh I would LOVE to see more illustration in books! Even if it's just on the chapter headers.
Comment #8: Thursday, June 01, 2017 at 15:56:00
Oh, yes — illustrations above chapter headers are such a nice detail.
Comment #9: Thursday, June 01, 2017 at 16:44:29
I once read a book with a blonde on the cover but the character was clearly a brunette, it being a point in the story. I made a comment about it and the author responded that she didn't have any control over the cover. You can read more about what I want and ways I collaborate
Comment #10: Thursday, June 01, 2017 at 15:58:00
With the big publishing houses, especially if they're a relatively new author, they won't have any control over the book design. I put the burden of the book design elements on the publishing house.
Comment #11: Friday, June 02, 2017 at 02:36:46
I agree. And I especially think a relevant cover is important. Happy ABEA!
Comment #12: Friday, June 02, 2017 at 15:53:00
I'd rather have a text only cover than a cover with imagery that has nothing to do with the story.
Comment #13: Thursday, June 01, 2017 at 22:15:58
I love those covers that you don't necessarily see the significance of until after you've finished a book. It's always a neat little surprise.
Comment #14: Friday, June 02, 2017 at 15:55:00
Those are the best kind of cover. The ones where you're nearly done with the book and then realize its significance.
Comment #15: Thursday, June 01, 2017 at 23:09:17
I really agree with your choices! Thanks for sharing them.
Comment #16: Friday, June 02, 2017 at 15:57:00
You're welcome. Thanks for stopping by.
Comment #17: Thursday, June 01, 2017 at 23:11:29
"1. A gorgeous and plot relevant cover. It shouldn't spoil the plot but it should show an understanding of the story and better, enhance it some way."
I also love unique character names. It makes them stick in my mind even when they aren't my favorite characters - like Katniss Everdeen.
Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland. :)
Comment #18: Friday, June 02, 2017 at 15:58:00
I'm just the opposite. A lot of times I have trouble remembering the unique names. There's nothing familiar there to remember it by.
Comment #19: Saturday, June 03, 2017 at 21:01:27
I am completely with you on the cover thing! I hate when a cover makes me think a book is one type, and then it turns out to be nothing like that. I also agree with the audiobook narrator thing. A voice can totally blow a book for me, to the point that sometimes I won't even try to pick up the print book and read it. Great post! Thanks for visiting my ABEA post earlier!
Comment #20: Saturday, June 03, 2017 at 19:22:00
You're welcome for the visit. I'm like you with the narrator thing. A bad narrator can put me off the entire series, even in print.
Comment #21: Saturday, June 03, 2017 at 21:35:31
You are totally right about #1!! I am surprised at how many times I've found a cover to be misleading or completely inaccurate to the story. It's almost like there was no communication between the illustrator/photographer and publisher/author! I actually talked about that in a recent review, where the artwork was completely off.
Comment #22: Saturday, June 03, 2017 at 19:22:00
It wouldn't surprise me if there was a lack of communication. Think about how many books are released each week. I can imagine that publishers feel like they can't be careful with each over — especially the ones that won't be big sellers. But I wish they were more careful.