Under the (Book) Covers: Turn Ons and Turn Offs

One of the joys of looking through books on the internet—in publishing catalogs, listicles or online bookstores—is the ability to see covers instead of tilted-head spines. With this new method of mass book browsing, I’ve started to notice patterns in the covers I stop on and those I scroll right through. I thought it would be interesting to flip through some upcoming titles with the sole purpose of finding themes in my cover lust—here are the results!

Retro Images

Turn On: Retro Images

Something about stylized retro imaging totally grabs me. It’s usually a hint at the author’s perspective, which may be a twist on typical historical fiction or just smart social commentary, both of which I love.


Thrillers Ladies

Turn Off: Mysterious Ladies

I tend to have trouble with mysteries in general, but I’ve started to steer myself away from what I’m calling the “mysterious lady” cover. I keep thinking they’ll work for me, but they very rarely do.


Graphic Text

Turn On: Graphic Text

It takes a ton of confidence to let bold, graphic text speak for your writing in place of images. Over time, though, I’ve had quite a bit of success with writers who are willing to throw caution to the wind this way. Plus, the covers are just irresistible.


Too Pretty

 Turn Off: All the Pretty Things

I tend to like some darkness in my reading, so anything that’s too pretty is an immediate turn off. I know I sound like a monster, but if there are cakes or teacups or bouquets of flowers on a cover, I’m probably skipping it.


Let's Get Weird

Turn On: Just…Weird

On the other hand, give me all the weird! A beard with a house? Sure! I’m a sucker for stories or novels that take some piecing together and oddball covers are usually a good indicator of that.


What cover trends make you stop in your tracks or run for the hills?