The Books Cover
We’ve all heard, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Yet, we do it all of the time. We can’t help it. We glance at something - book, television show, person - and immediately we form an opinion based on what we see. Sometimes that opinion is based on what we already think about something. Homeless people are lazy, moochers. Gang members are cold-hearted killers, and preachers are sacrificing saints leading you to the gates of Heaven. In some cases, that’s quite true. But not all. Not by a long shot.
Authors are told to pay special attention to their book covers. It’s the first opportunity a writer has to catch a reader’s attention and make them pick up the book. You need to pay attention to the title, make it catch, and then have an image that entices. You won’t be able to hook them with that first page you spent quite a bit of time on if you can’t get them to pick up the book.
It’s the same when going for that first job interview. You want to make a great first impression, so you dress to impress. It doesn’t matter whether you’re applying for a CEO position or to flip burgers at a fast food joint, you should dress to make them think you take the job seriously. They don’t need to know it’s just a stepping stone in your ladder to something better. Make your cover look good and they’ll want to see what’s on your pages. Fail to make them take a second look and you’ll never get read.
When it comes to forming friendships, I never make a judgment based on first impressions. I’ve seen some that resembled Fourth of July fireworks, pretty and flashy at first, but cold and charred on the inside. Then there have been those who have that rough exterior, but inside is pure gold. They’re loyal and just a joy to be around. I much prefer this kind as opposed to the other because, while sparklers look good while they’re shining, the sulfur stench afterward reeks. However, it usually doesn’t take long to figure out that their book is all show and no substance.
Part of the reason I chose two of the characters that I did in Reaping the Harvest was to show that covers can be misleading. Pastor Adrian Michaels should be one of the good guys trying to halt evil. Yet, we discover he’s partners with a demon. Buttercup is another. A prostitute on the streets of Harbor City, we already have a preconceived notion of what she should be like, but she isn’t like that at all. I like doing that with characters, flipping them inside out and going against the stereotypes.
It’s sad when there’s more flash than bang or when a book cover promises something on the outside that it doesn’t deliver on the inside. We need to be slow to judge because sometimes people are a slow read. It may take a few chapters before you figure them out and can enjoy the experience. Of course, there are some that should be tossed into the recycle bin. You won’t know at first glance, so give them the benefit of the doubt and thumb through their pages. You might just discover a best seller.
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