Judge my book by its cover (and the words too!)

By 7th February 2014 Blog

coverv2I have a new book out, and it’s got a brilliant, bright and dazzling cover. I hope you like it. Not surprisingly, I love it. For those of you who know me, it will also come as no surprise that I had little to do with its creation. If I have any creative ability, then it’s solely with words. I leave the artistic work to other, more talented people.

The cover for Read All About It was designed by Siobhann Caulfied. My design brief was short and probably a bit vague – I wanted something bright to catch people’s eye, while also letting potential readers know what the book is about. Pretty simple, eh? Siobhann’s design does just that and if people judge my book by its cover then I could be on to a winner.

During my year of reading, as chronicled in Read All About It, one of the books I read was The Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse, a French novel translated into English. I had actually first spotted it in a book shop in Brooklyn during a trip to America last February. At that point, having already bought books from another shop, I decided not to purchase Cosse’s novel, although that decision only came after a long period of mental debate in the store. It was the cover which caught my eye – a couple sitting against a packed book case, both of them engrossed in a book, the image set against a blue background.

I don’t subscribe to the view that you should never judge a book by its cover. That’s exactly what people first judge a book by. After all, more often than not, it’s the front cover image, and the back cover words which prompt someone to pick it up in the first place.

I try to find out the origins of this phrase, using Google to seek the answer. ‘Nothing’s a mystery any more,’ a friend of mine always intones, given that the correct answer to every question is just a Google search away. The downside is that people no long seem to retain the information they do find out. My enquiry reveals the following:

‘In 1944, in the American journal ‘American Speech’ states ‘you can’t judge a book by its binding’. In 1946 the phrase first appeared in the murder mystery novel Murder in the Glass Room (by Edwin Rolfe and Lester Fuller) as ‘you can never tell a book by its cover’. However, it can be traced as far back as the first and second centuries AD, when the Roman author Juvenal wrote in Satires, ‘Fronti nulla fides’, which translates as, ‘Never have faith in the front’.

What finally convinced me not to buy The Novel Bookstore in Brooklyn was the fact that a cat – a real, live cat – was sleeping on the table on top of the books. That, to me, is like someone bringing their dog into a restaurant when I’m out for a meal. I don’t want to buy a book that has some cat fur thrown in for free. I’ll stick to old-fashioned book marks, thank you very much.

However, serendipity ensured that The Novel Bookstore still ended up on my shelves. I got an email from Amazon one day with recommendations for me, and Cosse’s novel was among the selections. I bought it immediately. The book, incidentally, more than lived up to the promise of its cover!

You can buy Read All About It now for your Kindle. Just click HERE

Read All About It will soon be available in a print version. You can buy a copy and admire the wonderful cover.

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