Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Judging Books by their Covers

Okay, so I have a bone to pick with the publishing world. This book I read last night, "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society," has the lamest back blurb I've ever seen. It has two sentences and then the rest is filled with critic reviews. That was part of the reason I stopped reading it. I had no idea what it was about, whether it was something I'd like, and where it was going. I actually had no idea that Dawsey was a man--so it really confused me when she addressed him as Mr. Dawsey or something like that. It's fairly pathetic when you think the MC's love interest is female for the first bunch of pages.

Let me just say this: I don't care enough about reviews that they can substitute for a summary. I don't know the people at "Newsday" or "The Guardian." Why should I care what they think? I don't. That was the problem. I felt a great "so what" after reading their reviews--especially since their reviews were all gushy and said nothing about the plot either.

So, here is the back blurb in its entirity:

"January 1946: Writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name."

Yeah. That's it. Lame, huh?

Here is my back blurb for it:

The war has left its mark on Europe and upon the souls of those who live there. Writer and socialite Juliet Ashton is searching for something more meaningful to write about than the cheery "Izzy Bickerstaff Goes to War." A copy of a Charles Lamb book she once owned inspires a man, a pig farmer, on the island of Guernsey to write to her. Dawsey Adams is one of the founding members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Drawn in by his stories and the society's unusual name, Juliet begs for letters from those in Guernsey who'd been completely shut off from the world during the German occupation.

As letters pour in from Guernsey, Juliet finds her passion for living and writing again in their stories. Despite a marriage proposal from a wealthy American, she goes to Guernsey to meet those she's corresponded with. Along with the horror of what they suffered she finds they share a simple joy for life and a love for her. As she falls in love with an orphaned child and the pig farmer who'd originally written to her, she can't help but wonder if perhaps this was what she's been searching for her whole life.

Anyway, that would have interested me a lot more than their lame blurb.

Speaking of books and covers, I made the cover for several books of mine for Lulu yesterday. (Yes, you can use their generic covers, but it's just not in me to do it.) These are just hardcopies for betas, so they won't ever see the light of the publishing world. It seems a little strange to spend so much time on them, but I don't care. I like how Scorched turned out--for being a free image that was blown up and manipulated by various programs. Honor Within is a "Paint" image. I miss Photoshop, but it would really bog down my laptop anyway.

Here are the covers for Scorched and Honor Within:


  1. love, Love, LOVE Scorched cover. I'm assuming that is another fantabulous painting by you, Mrs. Sparrow. Totally cool.

    I agree, reviews are crap unless they talk about the plot. That sounds like the lamest book ever, according to the back cover and I am shocked publishers put that out. (yours is much more interesting) Especially with all the agents out their teaching the blogging writers community otherwise.

    That whole, tell them very little because the title is cool enough just doesn't work for me. Maybe for a blog title but enough to make me buy a book.

  2. I agree with you Wendy. I also thought Dawsey was a woman for awhile. Love both your covers, but like Scorched the most.

  3. GwOE, it's not a painting. It was originally a large photo that I cropped and manipulated with a program until that is how it ended up. I think it looks wicked cool.

    Mary, I was the only one who thought Dawsey was a woman at the book club today. I just didn't think her "voice" for some characters was "true" or "strong." It was rare, though. Many of her characters had strong voices. Plus, it may have been the result of multiple authors.

  4. I really like these!


  5. You are SO creative. Such a thing would never even occur to me. Great looking covers, if only for your betas. :)

  6. Sweet cheese wheels, those covers are awesome!!!

  7. Nice! I judge those covers by saying I'd pick up the book based on them.

  8. Love your covers and your revised blurb. I judge books by their covers, and I'd definitely pick yours up. I'm betting your blurb would be good too.

  9. I liked the Voice for most of the characters, but I thought Dawsey was an old woman at first and then I thought he was an old man.

  10. I haven't read that book, but I'd be far more apt to pick it up and give it a try after reading your blurb. You're absolutely right, theirs made me think, "Eh."

    Those book covers are great! I'd really love to beta one of your books some day. I have no doubt that I'd be captivated.

  11. I love the covers. Scorched really catches my attention, so full of awesomeness. You did an outstanding job on the blurb of whatever that book was. The first blurb made me sure I'd never want to read it, and yours has me wondering if I should stop by the library and check it out. Huge difference.