Judging a book by its cover

7 Nov
Source: friesenpress.com

Source: friesenpress.com

There is a saying that we should not judge a book by its cover. As I’ve learned in my journey to self-publish my first book (non-fiction), this saying apparently does not apply to books, paradoxically. Witness this TED talk. Or this article from the delightful Midwest Book Review site.

Barring some minor disaster, I’ll be submitting the approved edited manuscript for my forthcoming book to my self publisher FriesenPress early next week. My “all inclusive” package includes the premium cover design.

Here’s the question: what are your thoughts on what my cover design or art might look like?

The book’s title is The Mirror, Book One: Welcome to the Evil Sisterhood. There is a strong narcissism theme throughout it, and hence the title. Mirroring is an accepted behavioural trait of narcissists. It’s like the evil queen’s magic mirror in Snow White: the mirror has to show and tell the narcissistic evil queen what she wants to be true about herself, as otherwise she’ll fly into a rage and get quite ugly.

At the risk of sounding dramatic, there is a degree of horror in the story as well, not surprisingly.

Narcissists need to see reflected in their environment, especially in the words, beliefs, and attitudes of others, something they want to be ‘true’ about themselves.  Beauty, power, wealth, victim, hero, or other.

If you were the one who had to try and convey your vision for this book’s cover to your cover designer, what would you say?  What is going to really grab someone”s attention and reflect (pun intended) the nature of the book?

16 Responses to “Judging a book by its cover”

  1. Dottaraphels November 7, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

    oh boy! Yep, the cover is so crucial. I see a woman, various strategically placed mirrors all reflecting her wink knowingly 🙂 Truly wicked!
    Simply can’t wait for the book Navigator.

    • jrbenjamin November 7, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

      It’s so true: covers are everything, and it’s worth judging not only books by them, but also things, people, places, etc. They indicate what’s inside, and so often, you don’t have the time to explore the many details.

      I will say this: I know nothing about publishing, but my favorite book cover (which happens to adorn an extremely shoddy novel) is for Bret Easton Ellis’s ‘Imperial Bedrooms’. Link:


      Just look at how haunting and how captivating it is. Brilliant.

      Best of luck in publishing. I’m anxious to check it out.

      • navigator1965 November 8, 2013 at 6:01 am #


        That was a very striking cover. High contrast black-white with some vivid red, the vague but brutish horned figure, etc.

        Appreciate your interest in the book. It’s written as a simple, popular narrative, so as to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. The simple language constructs also facilitate grasping the concepts, which is important, especially in the sequel Book Two. The book is also engineered to achieve strategic effect against ideological feminism via exposing its deceitful gender narcissistic nature.

        Thanks for commenting.

    • navigator1965 November 8, 2013 at 6:04 am #


      Your enthusiasm is contagious! I must confess to a degree of building anticipation, now that the writing in close to being finalized.

      Neat cover design idea. I’ll ensure the cover designer gets a link to this post.


  2. charlypriest November 8, 2013 at 6:50 am #

    Congrats on publishing, I have an idea for the cover that is probably a bad one….but here it goes,
    The mirror is as big as the hole cover and the reflection 4 or 5 persons mean looking, all the persons are the same persons, since narcissism is all about them, you have a hole bunch of the same person because it´s all about them staring themselfs into a mirror.
    Look forward to reading it, sounds interesting.

    • navigator1965 November 8, 2013 at 4:55 pm #


      Thanks for contributing to the idea bank that this post is turning into. Much appreciated.

  3. lensgirl53 November 8, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    I have self-published two books of poetry and I loved designing the covers. My son drew the cover for the second one and also the illustrations inside. As for the Narcissists theme, the darkness therein should be in the colors used…like the suggestion above…black…maybe just an evil face staring into the mirror held out as if she is looking at the reader…who would be her reflection….I can’t draw but I can envision….lol….good luck with your endeavor. I would interested in reading the book. Invite me to the book signing. 🙂


    • navigator1965 November 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm #


      Again I thank you for your suggestions and kind words. I will ask that the FriesenPress cover designer look at this post to see if any of the comments inspire him or her in the task.

  4. Winifred M. Reilly November 8, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    I say don’t over do the evil theme in the cover since the title says it. I like the woman in mirror as a basic statement about narcissism.
    Maybe a woman who looks pretty normal and the mirror image dissembled .

    Much better writer than I am graphic designer. 🙂

    • navigator1965 November 8, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

      Since your such a lovely writer, I am almost tempted to say “thank God.” Only out of petty jealousy, of course. Point taken about not over-doing it. Thank you.

  5. bethbyrnes November 9, 2013 at 10:26 am #

    Something to look forward to and a great accomplishment. I would just do a set of infinity mirrors – the kind that seem to arc around in a slow curve forever. Perhaps with a small blurred non-gender specific figure on one side of the reflection. My two centavos worth:-).

    • navigator1965 November 9, 2013 at 10:38 am #

      Thanks for the great idea, Beth. I’ve asked that the cover designer read through the comments on this post, so we’ll see what ultimately results.

      I am starting to look forward the end, which should be January 2014. It will have been 18 months. And, it will actually be a beginning, in the sense of marketing in earnest. I also have to find time to write Book Two, as it is a two-book work.

  6. LindaGHill November 15, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    As the former friend of a narcissist, (I was lucky to get out) I look forward to reading your book. 🙂 I can imagine the cover as a broken mirror, reflecting bits and pieces not only of the face that’s looking at it but bits and pieces of what the narcissist has taken from others – because that’s what they do. I don’t know, I guess I’d have to think about it more.

    • navigator1965 November 15, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

      Hi Linda,

      Great suggestion. I hope my FriesenPress cover designer is following the comments here!

      Appreciate the interest in the book. Speaking of which, have a peek at your email inbox.

      • LindaGHill November 15, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

        Aha! Thank you. 🙂
        Not sure why it took so long, but I’m glad we met.

Please Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: