Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Of Course You Can Judge a Book by Looking at the Cover. Go Ahead, Judge Mine

One of the lamest sayings is "You can't judge a book by its cover". It is the job of a well-designed cover to convey a sense of why the reader should take an interest in what the book has to say.  The cover has to give us a reason to spend our precious time (and money) with this particular book. If a book doesn't deliver on the promise of the cover, it will have indicted itself as untrustworthy, a self-inflicted wound at the core of any author's most essential attribute, their credibility. 

In a sense, if a cover is badly designed, it could and often does actually function well. It's warning us the author doesn't care enough or isn't wise enough to present his work credibly. That is a strong signal that the book itself will be less than worthwhile. Good job, amateurish cover designers, and thanks for sparing us the effort of slogging through your badly-organized and poorly thought-through material. 

Above is the cover for my book, due this Fall, about coping with young-onset Parkinson's Disease.  The publisher, Penn State Press has chosen an image and presented it in a way that is compelling, and gives you an idea of what to expect from the work. You will be up close and personal with the effects of the disease. Choosing this image and setting it against the simple background tells you we are serious. In combination with the title, with its layered pop music reference, it conveys the hope that there will be wit as well. 

Does the content stand up to the promise? I invite you to see for yourself this Fall.  

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