The Writer Mama Two-Year Anniversary Blog Tour Giveaway! 

I am so honored to be part of Christina Katz’s blog tour. I first discovered Christina this past December while researching platform development. Her book, Get Known Before the Book Deal changed how I approached my writing career completely, causing me to think about things like hook, tag line, purpose, branding myself as a fiction author, etc. Shortly after reading the book I began to build my online presence and I haven’t looked back since.

 After reading her book, I did a little more research and found out that Christina has also written quite a lot on my other favorite subject – writing and being a mom. So, I ran to the book store and devoured Writer Mama. Again I was blown away. Christina is amazing. I encourage everyone trying to balance writing, a family, platform development and building a career as a writer to check out her books…

 And now, with further adieu…Christina Katz…


 Post #18: Cover Story

In the past month, I’ve heard from three folks I know about their forthcoming book covers. One person was unhappy with the proposed cover, another was thrilled, and a third seemed undecided and wanted to know what I thought. I think this pretty much sums up the three typical responses to book covers.

In publishing, as in life, there are many things you can’t control, and one of them, ultimately, is your book cover. Let me clarify: you can influence the cover choice but you can’t decide the final outcome.

However, with a good agent, a win-win attitude, and a cool head, you just might be able to turn an unfortunate first book cover-in-process into a cover you can accept, perhaps even grow to like.

Like writers, designers are wildly diverse and so are the cover concepts they pitch to your editorial team. If you have a smart agent, she will insert a clause in your book contract that says that you will have a vote in the cover selection process. Notice I said, “a vote,” not the power to select the ultimate design.

As long as your publisher is footing the bill for your book production costs, the publisher will make the final call on your book’s cover. Keep in mind that your publisher’s designers are working more closely with your publisher’s vision of your book, than they are with yours. Also remember, your publisher likely knows strategies about sales and cover art that you don’t. They are up to date on the latest cover “looks” and like many trends, you will often see one design trend reflected on many covers released at the same time.

Here are a few dos and don’ts for the day you are presented with a book cover that makes you want to cry:

Don’t freak.

Don’t react.

Don’t get angry.


Be gracious. Say thanks for including me in the process.

Put in writing the pros of the cover you’ve been shown. Then write the cons.

Jot down how you think the cover might be improved for the benefit of the targeted reader.

Then contact your agent. Ask for her input. Then discuss how to best offer your joint feedback to your publisher.

Proceed in a calm, orderly manner.

Keep things in perspective. This is not life and death; it’s a book cover. Your publisher will likely be as responsive as they can. There’s a whole more to a book, after all, than the design on the cover.


Where will the drawing be tomorrow? Visit http://thewritermama.wordpress.com/ to continue reading the rest of the Writer Mama story throughout March 2009!


Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids by Christina Katz (Writer’s Digest Books 2007)

Kids change your life, but they don’t necessarily have to end your career. Stay-at-home moms will love this handy guide to rearing a successful writing career while raising their children. The busy mom’s guide to writing life, this book gives stay-at-moms the encouragement and advice they need including everything from getting started and finding ideas to actually finding time to do the work – something not easy to do with the pitter-patter of little feet. With advice on how to network and form a business, this nurturing guide covers everything a writer mama needs to succeed at her second job. 


Christina Katz is also the author of the newly released Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform (Writer’s Digest Books 2008).



  1. If I know the title of a book I wish to purchase, then the cover doesn’t make any difference to me. I’ll still purchase the book.

    If I’m browsing in a bookstore or the library (running after my toddler simultaneously), then I must admit I may only have time to pick up a book I’m attracted to by its cover (the colors, font, image, etc). But whether I buy it or not depends solely on the back flap, the table of contents, the first page, and the purpose of the book.

    When I am reading a book with a beautiful cover I do tend to close the book often at reflective moments to gaze at the cover, because it adds to the feeling while reading the book. If I’m not attracted to the cover, then I tend to forget about it once I start reading the book. Overall, I like a beautiful cover that adds to the reading, but it’s okay if it isn’t perfect, just as long as the content of the book rewarding!

  2. absolutely.

    book covers have a huge impact on what books i buy (or borrow from the library).

    unless a book has been suggested to me by a friend or i am very familiar with the author, i usually select books based on their look and feel.

    and i’m actually quite particular about what i like…the size of the book, the layout, the fonts, any designs or illustrations, the type of paper, the color scheme on the jacket…they all have a big impact on my experience of reading the book.

    i don’t have a particular cover in mind when i think of my book, but i am really clear about the vibe of it and how it feels.

    but all that being said, i’m really not worried about the process. i just had business cards designed and working with the designer was such a positive experience. i love what she created (and would have never come up with something so beautiful on my own)!

  3. I’m with the first two commenters. For browsing purposes I count on the cover to convey a lot of information. Especially now, as Sam has no concept of indoor voices and our goal is to get in and out of the adult section of the library/bookstore quickly. I love the cover of both of your books Christina. And I can’t wait to see your cards Erin!

  4. As a graphic designer (and a writer, I’m practicing saying that) a book’s cover is very important to me. A strong design that portrays what’s happening between the covers will determine whether or not I pick up the book. After reading the book’s description I often set it down and move on, but that cover is what gets me to pick it up in the first place. First impressions are a big deal.

  5. I cover can make me decide to pull a book of the shelf and give it a look, but has nothing to do with whether or not I ultimately decide to buy it. Once I’m reading a book, I usually forget about the cover entirely.

  6. Of course the librarian in me screams, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but I do; and I think a lot of people do.

    Like a previous commenter, if I am planning to buy or borrow a book, the cover doesn’t make too much of a difference to me (unless it is really god-awful!), but when it comes to browsing, the cover becomes more important.

    Also, in my library system we do a lot of face-out displays and those titles we display with attractive or attention-grabbing covers definitely circulate better than books shelved with just the spines out.

  7. Hmm…not me. I stroke covers, admire them, wonder what they’re hiding inside. I love looking at covers. But ultimately what influences me the most about a book is what the blurb on the back says. I’ve purchased some (in my opinion) ugly covers, but the story was great.

    But I do love covers. A lot. 🙂

  8. Initially I’m always drawn to the cover (I am a Taurus…), or by the title. But my decision to buy is based on the content. I look at the table of contents, read the introduction and the first couple of pages of the first chapter. If I purchase the book, the cover doesn’t matter from that point on.

  9. It depends on what I’m looking for.

    If I’m looking for a non-fiction book on a specific subject, I look at the writer’s name and title first. Then back flap. Cover never enters into it.

    Same when I’m looking for fiction on a recommendation from a friend/colleague.

    The only time a cover influences me is if I’m purposely looking for new books. I will be drawn to cover art that is similar to that for books that I have liked in the past. Then I will read the back to see if the book will be a good fit. If a cover doesn’t resonate with me–or if I think I would be embarrassed being seen reading a book with a cover like that–I’ll pass it by.

    1. I want to thank everyone for your comments. I will be announcing a winner in the morning. Be sure to check back…..

  10. Thanks for all the great comments, everyone. I do still love my WM cover. I am actually going to get a nice, pristine, uncracked book framed and hung on my wall one of these days. The GK cover is one I’ve gotten used to and have learned to like, even though my initial reaction was surprise. Hope to keep hearing your thoughts, ladies!

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