How important are book covers?

A British novelist has dropped her publisher, HarperCollins, saying she's frustrated that her books have been getting "condescending and fluffy" chick lit covers, the Guardian reports.

Polly Courtney landed a book deal with HarperCollins imprint Avon after self-publishing her first novels, including Golden Handcuffs in 2006 and Poles Apart in 2008.

But she announced this week, at the launch of It's a Man's World, her third book with HarperCollins, that she would not be working with the publisher again because she objects to portraying her writing as chick lit.

mans-world.jpg"I'm not averse to the term chick lit," Courtney told reporters. "But I don't think that's what [It's a Man' World] is. The implication with chick lit is that it's about a girl wanting to meet the man of her dreams. [My books] are about social issues — this time about a woman in a lads' mag environment and the impact of media on society, and feminism."

The book cover depicts a slender young female office worker clutching file folders. Courtney believes this misrepresents the novel, and she had the same issue with her previous novels with HarperCollins.

"The titles and covers have been a problem with all three of my HarperCollins books, right from the start," she said. "If I had my time again I certainly wouldn't have signed with them. There's a feeling that any author should be grateful for any attention they can get from any publisher — that they should take what they can get. But I don't think they should have looked to sign me on the basis of what I'd written so far."

Do you think Courtney's decision to drop HarperCollins was justified? How important are book covers to you? What's your favourite or least favourite book cover? Let us know in the comments below.

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