This is the face many people make - even secretly - when they peruse the aisles of books stores and online book retailers and come across a cover that is, well...to say the least, diplorable. Yes, there are some covers that are that bad. They illicit an immediate response, an involuntary one. Sometimes, without even realizing it, we cringe, we contort our faces, out continences turn to disgust as we behold what can only be the byproduct of a cheapness and tackiness that can only come from the most hideous taste buds. The appearances of certain book covers can be nauseating, even leaving a bad taste lingering on the tongue...as if just swallowing a liquid coctail of wet sheetrock mixed with Aloe Vera juice. Yuck!
One of the most over-used falacies is "Don't judge a book by its cover." I appreciate the gesture: that we should all be able - and might I add, willing - to simply overlook the outer appearance of something in search of the inner beauty. And that is true with regards to some matters. For example, a homeless man or woman on the street may possess a wealth of knowledge and abilities beneath their dirty exteriors - and in many cases, they do. Every human has worth and value. Sometimes big things come in small packages. Yes, diamonds usually come out rough and covered in coal (dirt). You'd be somewhat nuts to throw away a diamond simply because its not smoothed over and is covered with dirt. Clean it off and shape it up! There are plenty more examples of this.
But I also must confess that there is something known in life as...a first impression.
A first impression is the final product after a process of manufacturing, meaning: after all of the time and energy has been expended, after ample time has been provided to create a decent enough presentation, this is the final result. What makes a bad book cover so bad is this: this is the first - and in most cases, only - impression an author will have on the public. In other words, the author has had plenty of time to produce a worthy product (book), an offering that would make the literary gods smile with jubilant glee; but after all of the time allotted and energy exerted, "this" is the best you could come up with to get people's attention. Shame on you.
In the literary world - and most worlds in general - you only get one shot at making a good impression. Your book might be awesome, but if the cover isn't attractive, there's a chance that no one will discover how wonderful your book is...on the inside. Your cover should be attractive (or at least, non-repellant to the aesthetic sense; or at least not so ugly that it automatically causes one of those natural reactions we talked about earlier - in other words, your book cover should at least be...decent). Yes, this may mean spending a few extra bucks; but, like all marketing, at least a well put-together cover is guaranteed to draw attention to your book and translate to the observer "professionalism".
Reasons for having a bad book cover include: being cheap (not being willing to shell out the extra bucks to an experienced designer to design a cover for you); ignorance (not knowing that there is a standard when it comes to book covers); arrogance (not being willing to ask the opinions of others concerning your book cover).
Below, I have two book covers for you to look at: one good and one dispicable. Tell me which one would you choose if you were in a book store passing through:
I'm sure I don't have to explain to you which one is the more attractive and professional looking one. Which one would you pick-up and read if you were passing through a book store and saw these two books sitting out on display? My point exactly.