Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Proof that a cover can kill you

It's so unfortunate that authors don't have more control over the cover art. I firmly believe that the art can make or break book sales.

My Amazon orders arrived today. I ripped open the box and flipped through each book. My daughters, who were supposed to be primping for K's one year pictures, threw down the blow dryer to see what I had in my hand. They both fought over "Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You." It has a fancy, four-color cover with a ballet dancer in a tutu.

"What's it about, mom? Why is she holding pumpkins?" they asked.
"I don't know. The girl is a ballet dancer and doesn't get the role she wants because they think her boobies are too big."
"Hu? That's weird."
S attempts to yank the book from A's hand. A tug of war ensues.
"Let me see. Let me see."
S sits on the floor and stares at the cover.
"I think I'll read it in the car," S says.

S is only four. She doesn't read. But, they both wanted to read that book. I promised to tell them what it's all about when I've finished reading.

So, of the three, highly-blogged-about, much-talked-about books, guess what I'm reading first? Yep. All because the pretty cover had the most chick a four year old.


At 8:45 PM, Blogger Susan Taylor Brown said... that about cover. I understand that a good cover makes a difference, what I still can't figure out is what MAKES it a good cover. (sigh) What are the other two books you got? I've been reading like crazy lately too.

At 8:57 PM, Blogger Kim said...

Also just arrived: "Storky," "My Big Sister is So Bossy She Says You Can't Read This Book." I brought home "The Red Hat Club" from my MIL's house last weekend. NY Times best seller, but the writing is just not as crisp as we find in our YAs! It's too easy to put down...and probably longer than it needs to be.

With "Dancing in Red Shoes..." I realized by page 22 that the main character was so strong, I was hooked. She cracks me up!

At 6:39 AM, Blogger Susan Taylor Brown said...

I have "Storky" in my stack too.
"Dancing in Red Shoes" is in my next order. Might have to step it up a bit.

I freaked a friend out at work yesterday by telling her I bought my books and didn't check them all out at the library. ;-) She says, "Do you have any idea how much money you spend on books?" And I said, "Uh huh" But I figure there could be worst vices. I use the library for research but most books I prefer to own so I can go back, reread, study, etc.

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Debby G. said...

Thank you both for buying STORKY! One of the best things about being a writer is that books are tax deductible. But I also know hardbacks are expensive, and I appreciate every one of mine that sells.

I also love the beautiful cover of RED SHOES. And the book is really funny and interesting, too. I liked being in the "world of dance" and loved not only the fun main character, but the quirky supporting characters.

At 2:07 PM, Blogger Kim said...


I think one of the things I like about Shoes is that it's a world where I lived as a teen (although more strange than mine!)> I've been really struggling to "write what I know" without it being boring. So, I've learned some important lessons from this book in terms of how to take what I know and make it fun. I've also enjoyed the descriptions--dance-specific descriptions that only a dancer would know (like the one about how they all pulled their leotards out of their butts in unison).


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