Book Cover – How Important is It?


Have you ever picked up a book because the cover art caught your eye? Was it beautiful? Mysterious? Unusual? Thought-provoking? I know I have. Even if I decided not to read the book, I may have picked it up simply because the cover art drew me in.

So today, in the spirit of documenting my experiences in writing, marketing and publishing a book, I’m blogging about my book’s cover art.

My much appreciated publisher, Arte Público Press sent me their cover art proposal for Evangelina Takes Flight, and it did not grab me. It did not scream out, “fantastic book cover!”. Someone put some real effort into it, and the Arte Público Director approved it.

So I stewed about what to do. I hate to be a thorn in people’s sides. I hate to inconvenience anyone. But… I wanted to fall in love with the book cover. I wanted it to make my heart swell.

I was raised to be polite, not make waves, to be extremely courteous and respectful when I disagree with someone (or don’t disagree with anyone, just nod and smile), and always be mindful of how my actions impact others. I even teach classes on how to disagree with someone in a way that’s likely to bring positive results, and it always involves a measure of diplomacy. Be honest, and even straightforward, but be diplomatic, too. Those things are not mutually exclusive.

And, that’s what I did. I sent the publisher my thoughts on the book cover and a suggestion for a different idea, and I did it in the most respectful way possible. My suggested cover art is not ideal, but it seems doable to me given the timeline they’re working with. By the time this book comes out, I will have spent 6 years writing and getting it to market. That’s nearly 12% of my lifetime. The book cover is too important to me not to speak up.

We’ll see what comes of it. Once the decision is final, I’ll post the cover here.


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