Hi, Jo here welcoming bestselling author, Mary Balogh, back to the Word Wenches. I've been delighting in Mary's new covers, and so I'm happy that she wants to talk about the subject. Of course, we're looking forward to your views and comments, and one lucky commenter will win a copy of Mary's book, Only a Kiss. If you already own that one, then you can choose another title.
Mary's recent complete series is the Survivor's Club, about a group of men and women who shared a difficult time during the Peninsula War. The first book is The Proposal, and its cover history illustrates what Mary is going to address.
Over to Mary.
Until recently I would have said that I never choose a book by its cover. After all, the cover is the one thing over which the author probably had very little input or control. Covers are designed within publishing houses according to the current theory of what will sell. In the historical romance genre, for example, if it seems that men with bare, waxed, over-developed chests and the generic white shirt or headless women or women with billowing skirts are what readers are looking for, then chances are that is the sort of cover writers will be landed with whether they want them or not-or whether the picture is historically accurate or not. At present the billowing skirt seems to be in vogue even though the book itself is very likely to be Regency and Regency fashions, in my opinion, are more gorgeous and romantic and sexy than the fashions of any other era.
I do my reading on a Kindle and make most of my book choices by browsing on Amazon. Like most other readers, I choose largely by author and within certain genres. In those cases covers do not have any bearing upon my choice. I will buy the book regardless. But I am always searching for new authors and I like to dabble in new genres just to see if there is anything to take my fancy and broaden my reading horizons. And I have made the discovery that yes, indeed, I am very much affected by covers. I will not buy a book solely upon the appeal of the cover, but that is what makes me stop to take a closer look. There are no doubt countless books I would enjoy enormously and countless new authors whose backlists I would devour voraciously if I could but find them. But it is the cover that draws me-or repels me.