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We All Judge a Book by Its Cover
Hi, my name is Crystal Perkins and I’m the author of The Griffin Brothers series of New Adult books. In addition to writing, I’ve also worked as a bookseller for many years. Having a good knowledge of the book world before jumping into being an author definitely helped me in many ways. For any aspiring authors, I want to pass on one thing I know to be true. Your cover is as important as the book itself. The book has to be well written and edited, but no one will know that if they don’t actually buy it first.
We’ve all heard the old adage about not judging a book by its cover. While that may be true in life (or at least it should be), when it comes to an actual book I think most people will admit that the cover of a book is what draws us in—or turns us away. If a cover doesn’t look visually pleasing and professional, the book itself is going to have a hard time selling in a store, or online. It can sometimes be overcome by a great blurb/summary, but I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t pick up a book if the cover doesn’t tempt me.
Case in point is The Hunger Games. I was working at Borders when it came out. The cover just didn’t do it for me, and neither did the jacket copy. I was mildly interested in the fact that Stephanie Meyer was recommending it, but not enough to pick it up. It wasn’t until several people told me how great it was that I decided to give it a try. And I loved it. But I wouldn’t have picked it up based on the cover.
My book club recently judged a competition where we were given just book covers and descriptions. We were pretty shocked by some of the entries. We liked covers on some, but hated the descriptions—or they were too graphic to ever go on a published book. And for others, we just couldn’t understand the cover choices. We ended up going with the books whose descriptions we liked, but it’s unlikely with the covers some of them had that we would’ve gotten that far if we hadn’t been asked to look at both.
Covers aren’t easy. I was lucky enough to be referred to an awesome cover designer so I’m covered there. We both spend hours looking for the right pictures, colors, and fonts. She also works hard to make sure the pictures we get from stock sites aren’t over used, and that she uses the right effects to make them look unique. I can’t stress enough how important it is to find the right cover and make sure it matches your characters as closely as possible. My friends grumble to me all the time about couples on a cover not matching the descriptions in the book. I actually changed the girl’s hair color in my first book so it would match the picture we decided on.
As an indie author, I feel like I’m lucky. I can release my books when I want, and choose whatever covers I like. Those are things traditionally published authors don’t have a lot of control over. I also realize that while I have control over things, I also have a responsibility to myself—and my readers—to make my books look as good as those traditional books. We all judge books by their covers, whether we want to admit it or not. So my number one advice to aspiring authors is to make sure your cover is the absolute best that it can be.
Interview by Amy Bartelloni
1.) Do you have any writing rituals, or do you write at a specific time of day?
I try to write early in the morning, although I have been known to do a marathon day and just keep writing until I can barely see or type. The last one netted me 18,000 words!
2.) Why contemporary romance? Do you think you'll branch out into other genres?
I read mostly contemporary, so I wanted to write what I like. I don't think I'm equipped for world building that a fantasy novel would entail! My new series will have a touch of mystery in it. I describe it as Charlie's Angels with a secret society of women!
3.) What actors/actresses do you see playing your characters in a movie?
I get asked this a lot and I honestly don't know. I love Matt Bomer and Kristen Bell, but I'm not sure they'd fit my characters. I don't really have an actor in mind when I write, and I've actually changed some of my characters to match the cover pics when I've found a really good one!
4.) What type of genres do you like to read, and what are you reading now?
I read Contemporary, New Adult, and Young Adult. I am obsessed with Sports Romances. I love Julie Brannagh, Monica Murphy/Karen Erickson, Sawyer Bennett, Jaci Burton, and Alison Packard ones the best currently.
5.) You have a ton of books coming out this year and next! What are your secrets for being so prolific?
I think because I'm a fast reader-I read 370 books last year-I'm also a fast writer. I don't plan ahead, and normally feel like I'm reading the books as I'm writing them. Definitely a pantser!
6.) How did you end up getting published?
I read a book that I couldn't relate to, which led me to write my own book. I planned to just let friends read it, but Tera Lynn Childs told me I had to at least self-publish it. I found an editor, and then Lauren Blakely referred me to a cover designer and formatter. The rest is history.
7.) Do you read your reviews? How do you deal with the negative ones?
Yes. I think because I am such a big reader and also work in the book business, so bad reviews aren't a shock to me. I don't love everything I read, and I don't expect everyone to love my books. I want to thank the reviewers for being honest sometimes, but I'm afraid they'll think I'm being sarcastic, so I don't do anything at all!
8.) What's the best piece of writing advice you've gotten?
Finish your book. Don't stop and try to edit. You can do that later. Even if you think what you're writing is crap, just finish that first draft.
9.) What are you currently working on?
My new series, Corrigan & Co. It will have 10 books, and it gives me a chance to explore all different romance guys I like since the different girls have to go undercover in each book.
10.) Cats or dogs?
11.) Ebook or hardcover?
Both. Ebook because I can read in the drive thru on my phone. Hardcover because there's nothing like holding a book in your hand!
12.) Who's your favorite character in Harry Potter?
13.) I see on your blog that you're a mac and cheese connoisseur? Where have you found the best mac and cheese?
Yes. I love mac and cheese. So far, I love Noodles & Co. Wisconsin mac and cheese the best!
14.) Favorite vacation spot?
Seattle, although it's been too long since I've been there!
15.) Cliffhanger or happily ever after?
Always happily ever after!
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