You’ve heard the age old expression: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” However in the world of publishing that is simply not the case! As I mentioned in an earlier post it’s important for your work to stand out from the sea of thousands of new books that are published each year. The book cover is usually the first thing a reader sees so it’s important to make a good first impression. A cover can either make a person want to pick up or click on your story or quickly dismiss it.
I make the general statement that people are often visual. This is true to some extent for many people including myself. We make judgments about that book based on the cover art and the typography used. It can tell us what is the age demographic of the book (eg. cartoony drawings or bright colorful imagery is associated with younger children). It can also give a clue about the genre. For instance any book that utilizes sex appeal, we can almost automatically assume it’s a romance novel. People tend to be drawn to attractive characters, which is an inevitable fact that readers and marketers exploit.
What makes a good cover? What makes a great cover? The second question is a little harder to answer. But in order to have a great cover, the image used needs to engage the viewer. An image that can grab the viewer’s attention or evoke an emotion is often more powerful. Granted professional graphic designers can be of great help in this dept. But even if you aren’t there are simple things to keep in mind when designing a cover.
1. A solid, high-quality image(s)
2. Appropriate typography. This is almost as important as the image itself. Basically you want your title to be legible. This is important especially when the cover is shrunk to a thumbnail if you’re selling it as an ebook. The title needs to work with the overall aesthetic of the image. Good typography should fit the mood or type of story. More can be discussed about good typography but this is just the basics.
3. A good photo editing program. Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator are good choices. Photo Elements is less expensive than Photoshop and has most of the powerful editing features Photoshop has. Free options include ones like Gimp which will work too.
You will note in the header bar some of the covers I created for my books. I propose the newest cover for my book, “Before the Legend.” I’m not a professional graphic designer (although I love designing) but I really like the finished result. The image can be used commercially which is very important (I still tried to consult the owner of the image to cover my bases).
Let me know what you think about my new cover above. Should I use it?…