Thursday, October 15, 2009

Covers and Fonts

I’m beginning to believe that, if I had read the Da Vinci Code without that glossy red cover full of conspiratorial images, if I had read it in boring 12-point Times New Roman, then I probably would not have cared for it as much and, as a result, not given it a chance to ‘rock my world’.

Covers are almost everything it seems. Check out any Richard Paul Evans ‘gem’, or the romantic majesty of any Nicholas Sparks novel. Or, if you’re into more literary material, check out any Anchor Paperback and awe in how smoothly the pages turn, and how the cover is so classically reflective you find yourself carrying it to the checkout without even having to read any of it. If you do choose to read the words, you’ll notice how seductive the font is, how the letters have been rounded in such a finite way that something in you just has to believe that what you are reading is incredible.

I am a Fontist…that means I must must must write in a specific font: Garamond, to me, is everything. I can’t re-read a story of mine unless I put it in Garamond. Times New Roman seems harder, clunkier even, like an older brother who wears hoodies and sweatpants every day. Courier New (and I shudder every time I have to submit something in this ‘professionally required’ way) to me reads like a fifth grader learning how to print neatly for the first time.

Of course, as we all know, having a good story is everything. Looks only take a story so far. But its these beautiful covers I see (Life of Pi, Water for Elephants, etc…) and the way the printed word looks on the pages, and how at the end of the book they talk about the type (Janson, or some medieval type that you’ll never get on Word) that motivate me to get one out there. It’s a bit shallow, but even smelling the pages of a new book inspires me.

Do you write in a specific font? Are there any covers that you simply must look at when you enter a bookstore?

P.S.-The font on this blog is Georgia...very nice, but a bit robotic, and the letter 'o' seems to be trying to swallow me.


  1. I'm a cover shopper. A cover is most likely to grab my attention, sometimes the title. 'The Thirteenth Tale' by Diane Setterfield was the perfect combination of cover and title.

    I think we have become a visual society.

    'The Seduction of Water' by Carol Goodman - the red cover caught my attention, and then the title. The cover more so than the title, but I still bought the book.

    As for fonts - I love papyrus, but I normally write in TNR 12. Sorry. : ) Papyrus, to me, is very similar to handwriting and I love the way it appears on the page. Word, however, decided they no longer like that font, and it's no longer standard. SIGH! But, if I had my way, everything would be in Papyrus.


  2. The default font on my version of Word is apparently Calibri.
    I’ll send out my queries and samples in TMR. It seems to be the standard.

  3. I'm trying to picture you writing this all straight faced. I'm having a hard time doing that because I never pictured you as someone who cared that much about covers. You always seemed to be more literary.

    Anyway, I go over to the fantasy section and check out the covers. Sometimes I'll look through books on fantasy art and even consider which artist I'd like to have do the art for a book of mine. You've got to believe it to achieve it, so why not indulge in a little hopeful fantasy.


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