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Reading & Other Authors

Cakes on the Cover: Yes or No?

I have cake very much on my mind today.

Firstly, Secrets in the Sky celebrates its first birthday on Friday: look out for special posts and treats all week.

Secondly, I’m approaching the point in the writing process where I can think seriously about the cover of the third book in the Saffron Sweeting series. Although I haven’t yet settled on a title, the main character, Bella, spends a great deal of her time and energy baking. Cake is a huge part of her life and I’m thinking it might belong on the cover, too.

But here’s my question. With so many women’s fiction titles featuring cake as their image, is this overdone? For example:

Cakes on coversPlease let me know in the comments below: does cake on the cover entice you to buy, or is this tasty concept way overdone?


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26 Comment

  1. Reply
    Joanne Phillips
    February 22, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    I think it depends how it’s done – I love the cakes on ‘If In Doubt Add Butter’ but most of the others (particularly all together like this) make me feel a bit sick 🙂 The right cake though, in the right place, on the right cover, can look exceptional though – and as a way to let the reader know what kind of book they are picking up I think it’s a clever idea 🙂 xxx

    1. Reply
      Pauline
      February 23, 2016 at 8:54 am

      Jo, you’re right, this collection all together is too much sugar! That’s partly why I’m concerned about it.

  2. Reply
    Julie Valerie @Julie_Valerie
    February 23, 2016 at 6:20 am

    I agree with Joanne. I think it depends how it’s done.

    I love, love, love the cover for The Coincidence of Coconut Cake. And I think there’s definitely a subgroup of readers who are drawn to cakes and baked goods on the cover as a way signaling them to the story’s content. I know many people who love reading “kitchen fiction.” (Actually, I just made that term up. “Kitchen fiction.” It’s got a kick to it. Almost rhymes. Is it a term used elsewhere? Hm… I may write a blog post…)

    But yes, I think go for it. Readers often judge a book by its cover and I think there’s lots to love about a delicious cake!

    P.S. You know I want to get my hands on your next book, Pauline. #EagerReader (What the heck?! Another catchy phrase. I’m on a roll today!)

    1. Reply
      Pauline
      February 23, 2016 at 8:55 am

      Kitchen Fiction? My gosh, genius term! I just googled it; it’s not widely used at all. We could start something here…

      1. Pauline
        February 23, 2016 at 8:56 am

        I found this, but not much else!
        https://www.goodreads.com/genres/kitchen-fiction

      2. Julie Valerie @Julie_Valerie
        February 24, 2016 at 4:39 am

        We should run with it! Kitchen fiction. I like it!

    2. Reply
      Michelle James
      February 24, 2016 at 9:52 am

      I started reading this response without ever looking who made it, but when I came to “kitchen fiction” lights started flashing, bells started ringing, and I knew it had to be you, Julie.

      1. Pauline
        February 24, 2016 at 10:03 am

        Yes, Julie’s going to trademark that expression, and buy kitchenfiction.com and make millions with it 🙂
        At least, I hope she does. I’ll be cheering her on with my elbows up to flour.

  3. Reply
    Connie Tucker
    February 23, 2016 at 7:34 am

    Depends. I like 1,4,5,8 and 12. They have a clean ,simple look. If I see a cartoonish cover, I am less likely to pick it up. Overdone ? You can’t have too much cake .

    1. Reply
      Pauline
      February 23, 2016 at 8:59 am

      Thanks, Connie. That Coconut Cake cover seems to strike a nice balance between cake and classy. In fact, I think it needs to go on my to-read list.

  4. Reply
    Sandie
    February 24, 2016 at 4:54 am

    Cake? Overdone? Only if left in the oven too long. You can never have too much cake!!!!!!!

    As for covers. My fave is Coincidence of Coconut…

    Like the others, of done right, go for it.

    1. Reply
      Pauline
      February 24, 2016 at 8:11 am

      Thanks, Sandie. That Coconut cover certainly has some fans! Perhaps because it’s cake, but not overly sweet?

  5. Reply
    Shelly Hickman
    February 24, 2016 at 6:17 am

    I’m always good with cake since it’s my favorite baked good! I think the reason “The Coincidence of Coconut Cake” is so appealing is that it doesn’t have the traditional pastel, colorful cakes that we so often see on covers, and it catches your attention. Kind of like when I open my emails of book deals and scroll through cover after cover of male chests and washboard abs for romance novels. They all look alike and I don’t even notice them anymore. So I think as long as there’s something unique about the image, you have a winner. 🙂

    1. Reply
      Pauline
      February 24, 2016 at 8:12 am

      Thank you, Shelly. Great point about making it unique… Perhaps a hunky guy eating the cake would do the trick? 🙂

      1. Shelly Hickman
        February 24, 2016 at 8:37 am

        Ooooh, I like it! 😉

  6. Reply
    Meredith Schorr
    February 24, 2016 at 7:03 am

    Hi Pauline – I haven’t even read the others comments because I didn’t want them to influence my opinion which is that as long as you do your cake a different way, it is not over done. Your target audience is mostly females and females (and I suppose males as well) love cake. Chick lit fans also seem to have a thing for sweets in general so I say go for it, especially since it’s an actual theme from your book. I would add something that ties the cover to the rest of the series – a common element. Good luck and congrats on getting this far with book 3 – can’t wait to read it!

  7. Reply
    Michelle James
    February 24, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Hi Pauline,
    Yes, by all means include a cake, but it doesn’t have to be all that sugary. Check out some photos of bundt cakes, pound cakes, and jellyrolls.
    Covers can make me pick up a book and flip through it, and finally decide to read it. However, I expect the cover to have significance to the story. So if a cake fits, use it.
    Best wishes, my friend.

    1. Reply
      Pauline
      February 24, 2016 at 10:19 am

      So glad there seems to be consensus here that cake, if used carefully, can be a positive thing! (Sounds a bit like a lesson for life as a whole, actually…). Thanks, Michelle.

  8. Reply
    Sandrine Piat
    February 24, 2016 at 10:45 am

    I agree with the others – if done right, you can’t go wrong. But if I’m really honest, I have caught myself reflecting on the fact that there were a lot of cake covers and cake related titles recently – a real ‘cake boom’ in the fiction department. But I now I get it – Kitchen Fiction is the new thing 🙂 So go for it!

  9. Reply
    Cinthia Ritchie
    February 24, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    You can never have too much cake! Seriously, though, I agree with everyone else–it depends upon how it is done. The right slice of cake, with the right mood and maybe something in the background that is different and unique to your book and storyline, and you’ve got a winning design.
    P.S. Good luck!
    P.S.S. Now I’m hungry for a slice of cake, lol.

  10. Reply
    Tracy Krimmer
    February 24, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Yes – cake!! I love covers that have objects such as cake. I’ve seen some wonderful pre-mades with cupcakes. I don’t think it’s overdone!

  11. Reply
    Barbara Barth
    February 26, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Love the term Kitchen Fiction, too. Great way to go Julie. I like it more so about chefs than cakes. Agree with the coconut cake, but I am curious about The Particular Sadness of The Lemon Cake. I will go check that out. Pauline, thanks for leaving a comment on my post. It came in my e-mail but did not post on my blog. Now Google+ has me concerned. You are always so great to reach out with comments!

    1. Reply
      Pauline
      February 28, 2016 at 2:23 pm

      It’s a pleasure to visit and thank you for stopping by here also!

  12. Reply
    Martina
    February 27, 2016 at 2:28 am

    I love Julie’s idea of the ‘kitchen fiction’. It’s a well known fact in the romance world, that food and love often go together 🙂

    I think the picture of a cake in the cover would be brilliant. My preference would be, if there is a picture of it, not to also have the word “cake” in the title. Maybe instead of a full frontal cake, you could have a peek, like something that sneaks out from the corner of the book cover. Or just some crumbs (or half eaten slice of cake) on a plate next to a cup of tea?

    1. Reply
      Pauline
      February 28, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks, Martina! You’re absolutely right: romance and food are closely entwined, and rightly so…

  13. Reply
    Jean | DelightfulRepast.com
    September 30, 2016 at 8:29 am

    Pauline, I’m not going to get into the fray on this one. I want to be surprised! 🙂 But do let me know if you want to talk about any particular cake!

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