I hate to admit it, but I’ve bought books based on their covers, like Angels and Demons, where the title is written to be read upside-down as well as rightside-up. The book wasn't so great, but the cover was awesome.
Covers do make a difference.
When my Connor Westphal series first came out, the covers were classic mystery covers—graveyards, skulls, blood, cats. Then, when the books sold to Japan, the covers looked more like “Barbie Does Murder,” with a cute blonde riding on a motor scooter. The German version was just the opposite—dark, gloomy, like “Connor Does Poe.” What a difference.
After deciding to e-publishing my Connor Westphal series, I had to find someone to design new covers for the books. I wanted something different from the originals, something that suggested these were cozy, fun books with a strong female protagonist set in a colorful Gold Country town. That’s about as much as I knew. Luckily I discovered Karen Phillips at Left Coast Crime and I couldn’t be happier with her work. She made Connor and her dog Casper really “come alive.”
In my opinion, Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich have boring covers. But then they don’t need to worry. It’s their names that sell their books. They could put a picture of a dead cat on the cover and the book would sell.
I’ve had a lot of favorite book covers over the years—too many to list. But here are a couple of recent ones that show the range of mystery novel covers today.
Staci McLaughlin’s new mystery, Going Organic Can Kill You, has a classic cozy cover, with a friendly farm, cute little animals, and a pleasant atmosphere. Hard to imagine murder lurks among the corn and tomatoes…
All great book covers that show the range of mysteries. And there are so many more.