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Does a Stunning Book Cover Ever Inspire You to Purchase the Book? #IWSG

Damyanti is the author of You Beneath Your Skin, an Amazon-bestselling crime novel, which has been optioned for screens by Endemol Shine. Book cover The Blue Bar and You Beneath Your Skin

As a child, many a book cover I saw didn’t feature any art. Books especially written and edited for children began to appear in my part of hinterland India by the time I was a teen.

So I sneaked books from my father’s collection.

My father’s library contained four kinds of books: ones without a cover that he picked up from pavements, the pricey hardcovers he ordered where he immediately got rid of the jacket, the iconic but boring beige Penguin covers with just the title, and the rest–which he immediately covered up with brown paper (with good reason–some of those Falubert, Zola and D H Lawrence covers were considered ‘saucy’.

My idea of the beauty of books was shaped by what lay within. Covers began to make an impact as I became solvent enough to buy my own books, but even then, copies I could afford were mostly second-hand,  and what I now realize were pirated versions off the pavement.

It was only when I moved to Malaysia that I began to see book cover art for what it was. That explains the mad buying spree for a few years.

When I transitioned to the author side of things, some of my stories found homes in anthologies. I had no say in the book covers, of course. The editors took care of that. Here are a few of the book covers of the anthologies I’ve been featured in:

Does a Book Cover Inspire You to Purchase the Book? #IWSGBy the time we began thinking of cover ideas for You Beneath Your Skin, I was resigned to the fact that my editor at Simon & Schuster India would make the decision, but to my surprise she consulted my former agent and I, and we got to pick the red cover, the face in the background, as well as the fade-out.  The title was huge, and my name barely there, but it was a debut. I like that the bold lettering makes it legible even at very small stamp sizes on Amazon and other online retailers.

For The Blue Bar, I filled up a form even before the book contract was signed–I could make suggestions on the color scheme, the items on the cover, and even the font. They didn’t pick all the suggestions, but they did take many, and the shiny blue-jewel cover has been a reader favorite. I thought the blood and the frayed sequin threads were a nice touch.

book cover The Blue BarSo far my first two books have have had covers I could get behind. The sequel to The Blue Bar will be out this year, titled, The Blue Monsoon. Can’t wait to see what that would look like.

What about you? Do book covers seduce you into buying books? If you’re an author, which book cover is your favorite? Would you like to link us to books with your favorite covers?

This is the first Wednesday of the month post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The questions were: If you are an Indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish trad, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?
Founded by the Ninja writing female charactersCap’n Alex J. Cavanaugh, the purpose of the group is to offer a safe space where writers can share their fears and insecurities without being judged.
This is a wonderful group–if you aren’t a part of it, I urge you to join in!
The awesome co-hosts for the February 1 posting of the IWSG are Jacqui Murray, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Pat Garcia, and Gwen Gardner!

My lit crime novel, The Blue Bar is on Kindle Unlimited now.  Add it to Goodreads or snag a copy to make my day.
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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Pam Lazos says:

    I admit to being swayed by covers. ;0)

  • DutchIl says:

    Thank you for sharing!… while a book cover may catch my eye, I am more interested in the contents and the story line of the book… I would say the name of the author would have a greater attraction than the cover… 🙂

    Hope all is well in your part of the universe and until we meet again..
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)

  • Patricia says:

    I’ve definitely bought books because of the covers. Sometimes I am captured by something shiny and pretty. LOL

  • Mary Aalgaard says:

    You have great covers. I especially like the blood splattered sequins and frayed edges. Makes you wonder what happened. Mystery and intrigue.

  • Jemi Fraser says:

    I’m about 1/3 of the way through the Blue Bar and I love how the cover highlights the story!
    I’m sometimes intrigued by covers but more often by titles and blurbs (I’m not a very visual person :))

  • Jemima Pett says:

    Mmm… blue will always make me look! In many ways I don’t like this trend of filling the cover with the title, but yes, with thumbnails so small, even taking that into account some of mine are too small to read. Are we trying to get the book picked up, or are we trying to make art? That’s rhetorical!
    But I don’t judge the book by the cover… except for what’s written on the back. And 90% of the time I’ll stop because the blurb is so formulaic, or sounds just like so many others…
    I pick up titles probably more than the cover, when I’m in a shop.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      The cover must sell books, is my very practical opinion, based on the number of times I’ve bought a book for its cover alone. Especially fantasy, scifi and YA. Those covers look irresistible. What can I say? I’m shallow 🙂

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti – your covers stand out and I’m pleased your name features more prominently on your Blue series … I love your books, so am pleased I get to read blogger’s books, as well as hear about recommendations I wouldn’t have bought … then I go for the type of book I want to read not what the cover implies. I will get to the review – apologies being so late to the pass, so to speak. I must also order both down at the library – they’re thought provoking books, as well as giving us a brief view into Mumbai, and Indian life – cheers Hilary

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks so much, Hilary. I’m pleased you like the Blue Mumbai covers–let’s hope the next one doesn’t disappoint!

      Thanks for wanting to review, it would be very helpful if you post a line or two. On Amazon, the number of reviews does help. And of course, I’d appreciate a request to the library!

  • Denise Covey says:

    Your covers are stunning, Damyanti, as are your stories within the pages. I know I haven’t reviewed BB yet. As soon as things settle a little, I promise you it will be worth the wait. Excited to hear your sequel will follow soon!
    You know my covers. Many will be redone, but overall, they’re not too shabby!

  • You’re very lucky to be given input into your covers. They’re both eye-catching!

  • I’ve definitely bought a book only because I loved the cover. I did that twice last year! Normally it’s a combo for me – cover, blurb, and first chapter.

  • I always go to the back page and read the summary before deciding if I’m interested. So its title and summary that grabs me.

  • I’ve bought many great books with simple and boring covers. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover. However, reality is that the cover influence my purchasing decision.

  • mlouisebarbourfundyblue says:

    Hi, Damyanti! I hope that you are enjoying IWSG Day. I thought the cover of “The Blue Bar” was striking and eye-catching. Eye-catching is important because that makes a book stand out among books on a bookstore shelf. I’m usually swayed by the back cover or by the author of books I’ve enjoyed. I’ll often look at the reviews too. Take care!

    • Damyanti says:

      Thank you so much for reading both of these books — you have no idea how much that means to me.

      So pleased you liked The Blue Bar cover. I hope the next one matches up as well.

      • mlouisebarbourfundyblue says:

        I’m happy to see your book doing so well, Damyanti! You are a wonderful writer. I reviewed “The Blue Bar” for IWSG Day, and I’m working on a review for Amazon and Goodreads. Take care!

  • Covers probably influence me, but more often they are a turn-off because they can skew the focus of the book to make it appear like a more shocking or sexy story than it really is. Or, while pleasing, they don’t always hint at what the story is about. I’m an author and my favorite cover is “Conjure Woman’s Cat,” the first in a series of magical realism books set in Florida.

    • Damyanti says:

      You’re right, of course. But sometimes I buy books just to buy them.

      I’ll look that title up now. Sounds fascinating.

  • setinthepast says:

    Interesting covers attract my attention.

  • J.S. Pailly says:

    Those are two really eye-catching covers. Given the importance of Amazon (and also book review sites like Goodreads), thinking about what your cover will look like in thumbnail size is really important. That tiny picture is the first thing most readers will ever see of your book.

  • I love the cover for both books, but especially the one for The Blue Bar.

  • Cover art is as likely to turn me off as it is to draw me in. We do when all is said and done often judge a book by its cover. I like both or yours and am very glad that you had input.

  • Both of these covers are outstanding, Damyanti–original, enticing, and the type that makes you look twice. Excellent examples.

  • Sonia Dogra says:

    I love the cover of The Blue Bar. It is very appealing. It will be interesting to see how far you’ll go in the sequence, or maybe just stay close to it.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks Sonia! I’m glad you like the cover and thanks for reading and reviewing the book!

      I can’t wait to see what they want to do for the cover. I guess we’ll have to wait.

  • patgarcia says:

    I am so glad that Simon and Schuster let you pick your covers. In my opinion, a cover says a lot about the inside content of the book and draws the reader into the writer’s world. I usually insist that my name is a much smaller print than the title of the book. From my point of view, it is the book that is important and should stand out.
    Your covers are excellent.
    Shalom aleichem

  • I have to say, your book covers are stunning. I would definitely pick them up in a store. The blue colour is striking. And the other thing is the cover is serious. I look at it and think “here’s something that may move me, make me think.” That’s what I look for in a book.

  • cleemckenzie says:

    I love your covers, so you’ve done what is exactly right.

  • rxena77 says:

    The Frank Frazetta cover to CONAN THE BARBARIAN paperback sold a million copies. Ancient as I am, I was a pre-teen and bought the book because of the cover. The vivid writing within made me a Howard fan, Frazetta covers or no. My LAST FAE and THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS both sold well, and I worked hard to make their covers stunning. Their audiobooks have different covers, but they are my two best sellers as audio’s also. I believe in this crowded internet marketplace, a fetching thumbnail of your book helps draw the eye … and the more you can do that the better … but I am hardly Stephen KIng in sales! 🙂

  • The genres I read really need detailed and great artwork to draw me in.
    Your covers have turned out perfectly.
    I’m fortunate I did have input into my covers.