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For Readers: Judging It By The Cover


We’re always told not to judge a book by its cover. But is that advice really meant to be taken literally?

Many sci fi covers have a very specific look – a futuristic font. Space. A cool looking ship. A man in a space suit. These visual cues help us grasp immediately that this is a sci fi book.

If a book just had a photo of a pickle on it, would that make you as a sci fi reader want to pick it up?

Similarly, romance books have their own look. For MM, it’s often the shirtless male torso or torsos, that immediately keys you into the romantic nature of the book.

For FF, it might be two women gazing longingly at one another.

So my questions today: What do you look for in a speculative fiction cover? An LGBTIQ cover? What pulls you in? And what about a sci fi romance? Or a Sci fi shifter story? Does it need to combine visual cues from both genres to work?

Writers: This is a reader chat – you are welcome to join it, but please do not reference your own works directly. Thanks!

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1 thought on “For Readers: Judging It By The Cover”

  1. Regardless of the genre, I look for quality of execution. If it’s drawn art, I want to see something well done; if it’s a collage of photo images, I expect the shadows to be in the same direction and the sizes to be proportionate. Little details like that give me (whether rightly or wrongly) the impression that the writer took the time to make sure the cover–the “face” of their work–was of high quality, from which I infer that they put forth painstaking effort to make sure the writing itself was done well. Sometimes, though, a good writer can have bad luck with the cover artist they’re assigned or just not have an artistic eye to give the right kind of feedback. Regardless, if it’s something unique that grabs my attention, I’m more likely to linger over it and consider purchasing it. I’ve decided against buying more books by reading the blurb or the first few pages. If there are more than 3 typos in the sample, sorry, not gonna spend my hard-earned money.


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