Hear me out –
When you buy a cake, you want it to 1) look amazing, 2) taste amazing, and 3) satisfy.
A book should do all three.
A book’s cover is the icing, the introduction, the glimpse into what lies underneath. The cover hints at the atmosphere, be it dark and angsty, romantic and steamy, or stormy and adventurous. The cover, whatever genre (flavor) should be inciting. It needs to say, “Come to me. Enjoy me.”
The inside of a book is the cake. It should be moist, fluffy, and offset the sweetness of the icing while complimenting the flavor. The inside of a book needs to be readable and enjoyable. (Ever bought a cake that looked amazing only to find that it tastes like someone put lard over sawdust?) Every page should keep the reader going without filling them up with too much prose or narration or action; a good book will have the reader hooked until the last page. The flare and flavor should be present throughout the book, within the shooting thrills and within the calming transition scenes.
The whole book should leave the reader with a sense of satisfaction, of time well-spent, without overloading them and making them want to take a nap. It should leave them looking forward to their next book. The reader should not regret having read the book.
Have you ever cake a cake that looked amazing, only to find that it lacked flavor and had the consistency of cardboard and sugar? Ever bought a cake that looked amazing only to find that it tastes like someone put lard over sawdust? I have. Both in the cake part of the metaphor and in the book part. Neither are pleasant.
You can make a cake that looks beautiful, with those little icing roses all over it, beading, sugar-pearls, and edible shimmer. But if your guests leave half-eaten pieces all over the room, well… that’s a sign it wasn’t very good.
Ever had a cake that looked a little… “homemade” but then it was absolutely delicious? I have. Those are the best.
But, as far as book covers go, you don’t want one that looks totally DIY. You want one that looks nice. But, before you get to that stage in the baking, you have to make sure, absolutely sure, that your cake is the best you can make it. How to do that? Taste testers, obviously. In book slang, these are called beta readers.
They’ll let you know about the taste.
And, if they stop half-way through the first piece, that’s a sign that they didn’t like it.
Thanks for reading. Are you craving cake yet? I am. This is why I can’t watch cupcake competitions.