Judging a book by its cover

You may (or may not) be interested to know how I choose which books I read and in what order.  It's a really simple system: I get books in, I put them in a pile, I semi-sort them by release date/level of interest, then I pull the top book off the pile and read.  Sometimes I mix it up a little, so that I don't read five dystopian YA novels in a row.  But mostly, that's the system for new books.  Older (Mt. Bookpile pre-2007) books are just pulled off the bookcase in clumps, put in a pile, and then read as I get to them.

I'm down to a mere ten books gotten at ALA, and so for most I don't even remember the cover.  The other day, I pulled Tempest, by Julie Cross off the pile... and promptly screamed "aaarrgh".  Then I took a photo of the cover and complained to Aravis; I then decided to share my dismay with all of you.  Note: this is my reaction to the cover, without having read the book.  My reaction to the book was actually far better!

  1. "A major success already in the making" - say whaaa???  How can it be a success in the making?  Aren't you a success after you've been made???
  2. The only way Summit Entertainment could "pre-empt" something is if they advertised Film A and then when audiences went in, surprise: It's Tempest! What they mean is "Optioned by Summit Entertainment". Seriously bad use of the language.
  3. "epic trilogy" - unless I'm really wrong, this could have been edited down to one really good book.  Plus "epic"?  Trust me, it's not on the scale of LoTR or the Iliad. Now those were epics.   Even GWTW is an epic.  This?  No.
I'm also wondering when I missed the memo that states that 99% of all debut novels are "incandescent" or "luminous".  There are many other words I see mostly in blurbs, rarely in real life, that set me off.  At least I'm not reading limn that often...


Roni Loren said...

That's not actually the final cover for Tempest. The real cover is here: http://www.amazon.com/Tempest-Novel-Julie-Cross/dp/0312568894/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314108027&sr=8-1 and I think it's really pretty.

And just FYI, the reason the ARC has all that info on it is because the point of an ARC is to build buzz about a release so that bookstores want to buy it and libraries want to stock it. That's why things like print runs are sometimes listed on the ARC but would never be listed on the real book.

Also, preempt simply means that Summit didn't just want to option it, but that they asked to make a preemptive offer so that the publisher wouldn't entertain offers from other studios. It's basically--we're going to offer you this and ask you to take it off the table so that we get dibs before anyone else sees it. That happens with books to. A preempt means the publisher/movie studio wanted it bad.

Lazygal said...

Roni, I knew it wasn't the final cover, and I know why the ARC has all those buzz phrases on it. I've been reading ARCs for quite some time and am aware of all the marketing needs they fulfill.

Having said that, this was just egregious marketing (IMVHO). When I show ARCs to students, to gauge their opinions (should we buy? should we skip?) the cover and the blurbage affect their experience, much as it does mine. As I said, the book was better than the cover led me to believe it would be, although "epic" was certainly the wrong word.

As for "pre-empt", thank you for the explanation. On the other hand, I'm not the only person I know who misunderstood what it means, and the fact that there's a movie deal in place wouldn't affect my (or most other) librarians decision to purchase.