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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Your Cover Matters

Don't deny it.

Yes, it's all about the content. No argument. I'd rather have a gold bar painted with sewage than a dog turd dusted with gold. Yes, our essence -- who we are, our soul, our integrity and honor and value -- is far more important than the flesh it's wrapped in. Infinitely so.

 (Claus: Legend of the Fat Man made infinitely better with Mike Tabor's cover.)

Nonetheless. In this world, the cover still matters.

My first couple of novels, I put together decent covers. I avoided the generic label, threw something halfway decent over the top and figured that readers would buy the words, not the picture. Somehow, I figured, readers were like polar bears getting a whiff of dinner a mile away. Only replace seal with words. If I wrote it, they would come.

Just. Not. True.

And I realized this when I finally paid attention to how I judge a book... BY THE COVER! 

I zip through a listing of books like Ray Babbit, stopping to read the summary if, AND ONLY IF, the cover is hot. I mean, if it looked dull or homemade then forget about it. There might be a gold bar in there but I wasn't going to scratch away the sewage to find out.

My homemade covers weren't horrible. Okay, some were. One I hardly tried. The Annihilation of Foreverland was dreary and depressing and who in their right mind would reach for that? I hired a graphic artist and, with some input, she created something spectacular. Guess what?

THAT STORY MOVED.

 (Guess which cover I did.)

I exercise to be fit, to be healthy. So my bones don't creak when I tie my shoes. But I'm going with the face God dealt me. It's not pretty, but it works just fine. What's inside -- how I behave, who I help, how I interact with others -- is something that I measure with greater value.

I meditate. I exercise, too. But when there's only time for one, I choose the former.

But I won't ignore the cover.


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