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Armchair BEA 2016 Day 2 | The Pretties

It's day two of Armchair BEA 2016. Today it's all about aesthetics; book covers and blog designs. I'll admit; I do love pretty book covers. And I appreciate when bloggers put the effort in to make their blog match their content. But these don't always equal success. Here are my answers to today's questions.

The Books:

How often do you judge a book by its cover?
I try not to, but sometimes it can't be helped. I'll admit that there have been times when I picked up a book simply because I thought the cover was pretty. *Ahem, The Selection series.* I can think of some books that in my opinion don't have the prettiest covers, but I can't really think of a book that I would reject simply because the cover isn't very pretty.

How often are you surprised by what you find?
I can't really think of a time when I have been surprised because of the cover.

Do you strategize and make sure every book in your series has the same cover design (as far as you are able to) and type?

If it is at all possible. A few years ago, I found The Chronicles of Narnia in a decorated box set at a yard sale for $1. It only had four out of the seven books, but I still bought it because it was so cheap and they were in pretty good shape. When I set out to find the other three, I really wanted them to be in the same editions, partly because I wanted them to all match and fit in the box properly, and partly because those are my favorite editions of the series. Same thing with the Anne of Green Gables series. I adore the Sourcebooks editions of the books because they're beautiful, but I know that the last two books in the series are not available in those editions. I try to not let it bother me when the books in a series do not match, but I prefer it if they do.

How important is it for the visual art on the outside of the book to match or coordinate with the literature art on the inside?
I love pretty covers. I really do. I try find the pretty editions of the books that I buy. That said, I won't turn down a book just because the cover is ugly. But I will say that a cover should at least try to match the contents of the book. If the book is about a 1920s flapper, then it shouldn't have a woman in Victorian clothing on the cover. I've seen editions of Anne of Green Gables where Anne has either brown or blonde hair and that does bug me, because the fact that her hair is red is such a big part of the story.


The Blog:

As a book blogger, in whatever form that takes, branding is important. Your colors, your fonts, your style of review, all of these things come together to make the "brand" of your blog - something that makes your reviews and posts and websites, all your various content, immediately recognizable to the people looking for you.

 What do you do to create a brand on your site?
Well, my blog is called A Real Writer's Life. When I began taking blogging seriously, I wanted it detail what it is really like to be a writer/author. I wanted this blog to be a place where writers could come and find someone to relate to. I also blog about books a lot and I find that fitting because books are a huge part of a real writer's life. If you don't read, you can't write. So I participate in Top Ten Tuesday and I have Book of the Week on Wednesdays. But I also do Favorite Word Friday and try to include posts about writing each week. When I do my lately posts, I'll talk about the music, television shows, and movies I'm liking at the moment, but I try to keep those things at minimum because that isn't what this blog is about.

Do you think about these things?
I do think about them, but I want to do more. I don't feel like the aesthetics of my blog reflect what I want them to. I had a textured background for a little while, but it felt like it was taking away from my writing, so I switched back to a plain background, which I'm more comfortable with. Yet I really want to have a new header and some memes created for my blog that reflect more of what it's all about.

So no, simply because a blog is beautiful or book's cover looks nice does not meant that they will be enjoyable. When it comes down to it, your content must either match or succeed the exterior. Yet it cannot hurt to polish the aesthetics.

Thanks for stopping today!

-Miranda Atchley


  1. I found this post interesting Miranda because I have been watching your blog for a bit now and have seen the changes you've tried. I have to admit that the mint green was not really a favorite of mine because the headings were hard to read. I do like the simpler and easier to read look, but that is because I tend to be a no-frills kind of person. I have visited blogs that are just too busy with so many decorations and colors exploding off of the screen. I have also visited blogs where the font is hard to read because of the color choices so I tend to not visit them as much because they hurt my eyes. If there is a blog with a black background and white or light colored font then I definitely don't visit it frequently because that gives me a headache! ha! So I do think that the design of a blog is important. It needs to be welcoming yet not so busy it creates anxiety. Those are my thoughts on blog design. As for book covers...I have to say that a pretty cover is going to grab my attention before a plain or ugly one. One of the things that kept me from reading Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay at first was the plain-ness of the cover. It just didn't look very inviting. But after seeing several reviews I finally picked it up and loved it! So I do think cover choice is important and have been known to "judge a book by its cover" *gasp* ;) For sure a blond or brown-haired Anne on the cover of an Anne of Green Gables book would have offended me! I agree the cover should at least match the content of the book in some way. Another good post Miranda!

    1. Thanks Julie. I like the plain background too. I was worried that some of my reader might not like that I took the other background down, but I feel like this is better for my blog.

  2. I'm all for the minimalist look. But, as with everything, each blogger has to create/find their own niche for design. I'm glad you're happy with your look now, Miranda because at the end of the day, that is the main issue. It's always amazing to include readers in what they like vs. dislike (and I personally SO appreiciate feedback), but if we, as the writers, don't like our spacious canvas (on which we write), then our content isn't likely to be as good. :)

    I'm a self-professed cover snob. And proud of it. ;)

    1. Thank you Rissi. I agree with you; everyone has their own style and ultimately needs to go with what makes them happy, or else blogging isn't really worth it.

      And from seeing some of your Cover Candy posts, I have to admit that you have wonderful taste in book covers. :)

      Thank you for dropping by today!


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