TTT: Choosing Books by their Covers

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme that was started by The Broke and Bookish and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018.  It was born of a love of lists (something I share) and each week participants come up with a list of ten(ish) things based on a theme.

The theme for this weeks Top Ten Tuesday is a Book Cover Freebie which has totally sent me into an indecisive mess (and is the reason why I’m so late with this week’s post). I’d much prefer if someone just told me what to post but anyway I’ve decided to put a little bit of a twist on it and have come up with a list of the things I want/ or don’t want on my book covers. What will put me off buying a book or tempt me into splashing the cash.  Let’s start with the negative


TV/Movie tie in coversSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

I do get it, they want people who love the show/movie or who have even just heard everyone rave over it to rush out and buy the book but seeing the actors and the huge big sticker with “Now a hit TV show starring…” plastered all over the front really puts me off. I’m pretty sure if people really want to find the book the show is based on they will, and don’t even get me started when they change the title of the book to the name of the show…

What really winds me up too is when you buy an ebook from Amazon with the original cover and all of a sudden Amazon decide to change it to the tie in version… grrr!!

The authors name is the biggest thingGenesis (Jack Stapleton & Laurie Montgomery, #12)

Yes if an author is successful and has lots of readers make sure their name is prominent but when the name is more prominent than the title of the book, or pretty much anything else on the cover it just makes me think they’re trying to sell you it purely based on the author. The story seems to be treated as some kind of secondary, less important factor, it’s sort of assumed that you’ll buy it regardless of what it’s about because the author is just sooo awesome. It seems a little disrespectful to readers to me.

(I haven’t read this book btw, it was just one I spotted that kind of fit)

People on coversSince You've Been Gone

I know, I’m a weirdo but I really don’t like when covers have real people i.e. not illustrations on them. It’s probably part of the reason I don’t like tie in covers with the actors on the cover. I don’t want anyone showing me what the characters look like, I want to imagine them for myself. When I read I actually struggle to take in descriptions of people (or places) so I have a tendency to make up my own image of them, which usually bears no resemblance to how the author intended. If there’s a picture on the front of the character it kind of forces me to imagine them that way, and I don’t want to.

The “standard genre” coverThe Bet (Indecent Intentions #1)

There seems to be this thing where if a book is a certain genre it has to have the same thing on the cover. Crime books have the dark alley (possibly with a sinister figure), domestic thrillers a house or a door, romances have the bare chested guy and YA fantasy has that snake that seems to be doing the rounds at the moment. It’s all just obvious and kind of boring. I think I may have a couple of books which have literally the same cover (the guy in this cover is on at least four different books).

It’s just ugly or doesn’t fit

I won’t be mean and put an example for this one but there have certainly been a few times where the cover of the book has put me off buying it. It’s either really unprofessional looking (I feel like I could come up with a better one myself using my phone) or it just seems to have absolutely no real connection to the story. This sort of links to the standard genre point as well, just because a book is a certain genre you are not obliged to have certain things on the cover if they have nothing to do with the story . I do understand that a lot of self published authors don’t have money to spend on covers but I’m sorry they do matter.


All the pretty, sparkly things ❤Circe

I am a sucker for a pretty cover and will admit to having bought more than one book based on the cover alone, didn’t even read the synopsis.

I love intricate designs, flowers, possibly some foil or sprayed edges. I know that a gorgeous cover doesn’t always translate exactly into a gorgeous story but I am seriously struggling to think of a book with a pretty cover that I haven’t enjoyed.

Little references to the storyDarkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3)

I don’t like covers that are too obvious but I do love when the cover images have little clues or references to some of the things that pop up in the story. I haven’t come across many of these but the most recent was the UK version of Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff. I love how if you look closely there are lots of little images within the main one which link to certain scenes or characters in the story. I had a lot of fun after I finished the book fitting all of the little parts of the story to the images on the cover.

A little bit of mysteryThe 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

There’s a lot to be said for a cover that’s simple, stylish and doesn’t give much away about the story, especially if you add in a little bit of foil or a nice border. The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was one of those books for me. There are a few little clues in those diamonds in the corner but the big draw for this book is definitely the title and the story. It doesn’t need a fancy cover and honestly I can’t think of anything you could put on the cover that would fit the story (although I am aware the paperback version has a staircase on it).

Less can be more.

Contemporary design with strong colours and illustrationsThe Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club, #1)

I read a lot of romcoms and contemporary fiction and am absolutely loving the trend at the moment for illustrations on the cover. Bright colours, big loopy writing, something that literally jumps of the shelf and says go on you know you want to read me. There’s just something fun about them that appeals to me and you can usually trust that if the cover is contemporary the story will be too.

It’s quirky or funnyA Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares

I love a quirky or different story so it stands to reason that I’m drawn to books with slightly quirky or just downright weird covers (anyone for a lobster or a pink flamingo?). And, if it happens to have a slightly out there title that’s a bonus. I find that there are a lot of covers that are just variations of the same thing, but books like this just jump out at you. I may not necessarily buy it but I’ll definitely pick it up and read what it’s about.

So that’s what I look for (or avoid) in my book covers. Is there anything in particular you look for on the cover when choosing a book or do you share any of my cover pet peeves?

Feel free to leave comments below and links to your top ten’s.

21 thoughts on “TTT: Choosing Books by their Covers

  1. It’s as if you spoke to my daughter. She hates movie tie in covers, and doesn’t like people on covers. If they are on the covers, she doesn’t want to see their faces. I am ok with a lot of things on covers. I find it important, that after I have read the book, I can look at the cover, and it will have some connection to the story. I hate random covers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha. I can totally relate to not wanting to see people’s faces on covers. My most hated is when there’s just a big close up on a face.

      I like strange covers but I agree that they still need to have some connection to the story.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Same about sparkly things and beautiful illustrations on the covers, I just LOVE them, as well as those that has some minimalist and mysterious things. 😍👏🏻✨ I agree with you about “standard genre” type of cover, I’m so tired of seeing naked people on NA covers, sometimes I think it’s not necessary, you know? 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shiny sparkly things are very appealing. I just love things that are different or stand out but so often they just use a suitable stock image.

      I think I just have issue with NA as a genre. I’ve only ever seen college romances as NA when there are so many other kind of reads (fantasy, sci fi etc) that could easily fit.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think this post is one of my favorite TTT posts ever! I couldn’t agree with you more. I absolutely hate the bare chested men on the covers of romances. It’s so cliche and makes me cringe. I don’t like people on the covers, either. With the exception of Colleen Hoover books. Her’s don’t bother me as much, but there are some that really irk me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much. I just hate the clichéd covers too. I’m sure it’s deliberate so the readers know exactly what they’re getting but if they’re gonna read the book surely they can manage the synopsis before buying it.

      I did hear a story from a crime writer about a reader who slated their latest book because they didn’t realise it was set in space. There was a spaceship on the cover 🤦‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m definitely with you on the movie/series tie-in covers. My biggest regret is that I bought a copy of I Am Legend by Richard Matheson back when that Will Smith movie was still fairly new. I managed to find one without the movie poster as the cover, but it had a garish red star (not a sticker, I might add) with yellow text saying “NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING WILL SMITH.” I’ve never let myself live down that purchase.


  5. oh yeah I don’t like movie tie-ins either. And that’s a good point about the author’s name being bigger than the title! I’m rarely a fan of people on covers too and don’t like the standard genre covers either. Love sparkly covers and subtle references to the story! And I really like quirky covers and simple, stylish covers too (also I liked all the covers you picked in liked and agreed on all the ones you disliked… looks like we have similar tastes in covers!)


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