You CAN Judge a Book By Its Cover—Your Verdict Is In! + Prize Winner Announced

You CAN Judge a Book By Its Cover—Your Verdict Is In! + Prize Winner Announced

Photos? Illos? Naked Torsos?

Wow, what a response. Earlier this month, I discussed the various styles of cover design and asked you which you preferred: covers with illustrations, photographs and/or naked torsos?


Illustrated covers won hands down! Of the 100+ responses I received, 65% agreed that illustrated covers were ideal. 10% preferred photographs, 23% were happy with either/both and just a tiny handful of respondents thought a bare bod’ was the best way to go. (Va-va-voom.)

It didn’t really matter where you came from—most respondents were from the US, but I had replies from the UK, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and even one from Slovenia—the general consensus was this:

  • ILLUSTRATIONS are perfect for cozy mysteries: “They’re softer, gentler and feed my imagination more,” said one reader. “I like to let my brain run wild!” wrote another. And this little nugget: “It illustrates the lighthearted, more laidback, quick-read nature (of cozies).”
  • PHOTOS are more suited to gritty crime and realism: “I like my covers to look more realistic,” said one. “Not too cartooney,” wrote another, while most agreed: “(Photos) feel more serious but not as much fun to read.”
  • NAKED TORSOS are taboo. It’s “pornographic” or “just plain yuck!” said some, while one reader implored: no “disconcerting” Fabio-style images, please! That one made me laugh. 🙂

Many of your views mirrored my own but one comment got my ‘leetle grey cells’ churning:

“My ultimate favorite cover style is what you have done with the Agatha Christie Book Club covers: photographs, not with people, but with objects that relate to the story and actually enhance the prospective reader’s mental images. The perfect blend!”

I hadn’t thought of that extra option but, thanks, I heartily agree! I love that style, too (see the aforementioned covers below), and often pour over similar covers, wondering if the objects pictured will unlock the mystery for me.

But enough of all that. Let’s get to the exciting bit! Envelope please…


Congratulations Andree P. from Canada! You’ve just scored yourself an e-copy of all six of my Ghostwriter Mystery series. (Woo-hoo!) I’ll be in touch with you via email directly. Until then, thanks to EVERYONE who shared their views. It was so lovely to meet you, discover where you’re from and hear what makes you reach for a book.

Now I’d like to leave you with perhaps the savviest quote of all:

“I DO judge a book by its cover but it’s the content that really matters.”

I think we can all agree on that.

Happy reading everyone (regardless of the cover!)

xo Christina

PST! While I’ve got your undivided attention…

A BRIEF WORD ON BOOK REVIEWS: It’s not just about the cover and the content—YOU also make a big difference to an author’s ability to reach more readers and, therefore, write more books. Readers’ reviews really matter, so if you find the time and can manage it, don’t ever hesitate to rate and/or review. We appreciate the effort and love to hear your views! 🙂