Guest blogger: Lizzy Chandler
Judging a book by its cover
After writing for many years, last year I had my first romance novel accepted for publication as an ebook, Snowy River Man. It’s about a young woman who, after a traumatic time, starts to have dreams of lost boys. This gift leads her to reconnect with a young station owner from Adaminaby in Snowy River Shire, a man whose son goes missing after a country rodeo and with whom she once had a fling.
Snowy River Man has done well, so well it was re-released this month in a print anthology of ‘3-in-1 Australian Bestsellers’ called Country Secrets. I’m guessing part of the book’s success is due to the popularity of rural romance, but I’m also tempted to think it has something to do with the wonderful looking hero on the cover.
My second romance, By Her Side, was published in December last year by Escape. It’s about a girl who comes back to Sydney after living overseas, only to be involved in a mysterious hit-and-run accident, which injures her wealthy grandfather. She also discovers her half-brother is missing—along with funds from the family company. To solve the mystery, she teams up with an off-duty undercover detective who is coerced by her grandfather into acting as her bodyguard. Together they have a high-stakes adventure, and find love and romance along the way.
When I first saw the cover of By Her Side I was thrilled. The guy on the bike with the tattoos was as handsome as I’d imagined Vince Maroney, my Italian–Australian hero from the wrong side of the tracks. Unlike with the cover of Snowy River Man, however, reader reactions have been mixed. After enjoying Snowy River Man, one reviewer on Goodreads wrote that she picked up By Her Side despite the ‘horrible’ cover. The irony was that she enjoyed By Her Side even more than the first book and gave it a higher rating. What if the cover had put her off altogether?
So maybe you can help me. Do you judge a book by its cover—even ebooks? If the cover doesn’t attract you, do you still look at the summary or opening page to see if the story might interest you? Judging by the covers of Snowy River Man and By Her Side, which would you be more likely to pick up and read, and why?
To celebrate the publication of Snowy River Man in print, I’m giving away two copies of the Country Secrets anthology—or, if you’ve already read it and would prefer an ebook copy of By Her Side, just let me know. You can find details as to how to enter on my blog or on Goodreads. Entries close 31 August.
Good luck and happy reading!
Lizzy Chandler is the pen-name of Elizabeth Lhuede who founded the Australian Woman Writers Challenge and started off as an academic, researching Australian poetry for her PhD. She is currently helping her 93-year-old aunt write her memoirs, researching family history via TROVE and reading historical sagas, while waiting to hear back from Escape about her third novel, tentatively titled Sandpiper Beach.