Judging a Book by Its Cover
(J recently appeared on the Writers’ Collective blog with advice on cover design. Read the beginning of the blog below. If you’re interested in the rest, head on over to the Writers’ Collective blog by clicking the link at the bottom.)
It really does happen; people judge books by the cover. Maybe it’s not fair to assume a crappy package means a crappy present inside, or maybe the cover tells a potential reader exactly what they need to know: This author didn’t think enough of the story to find a great designer.
Before you skewer me, or worse, run off to look at my cover designs ready to judge, consider a few things. First, why exactly would you attempt designing your own cover? Second, how much would a professional cover designer cost? And last, just how important is a cover that reaches out to potential readers? Your answers should be: I wouldn’t, as much as it takes, and very, very important. Now, let’s consider how you can get a great cover for an affordable price.
I write this blog under the assumption that any reader interested in this subject is considering self-publishing. After all, even small publishing houses have in-house cover designers. If you’re going it alone, your first step is to determine your genre. This is so bloody important, and yet so many cast it aside with a flick of the fingers. Write a romance novel? Why on earth would you design a minimal cover without a hint of love or sex? Penned a thriller? Whimsical fonts will confuse readers every time. Plan your cover around your genre, and you’re one huge step closer to hooking readers right away.
Check the Trends
When you’re certain you have your genre nailed down, cruise the bookstore to find other books in your genre. No bookstores close by? It’s a tragedy, but we do still have Amazon. In fact, Amazon will show you all those covers you don’t want to imitate. Take note of the images, fonts, and colors you like. Absorb the many different ways to show the very same thing. You’ll be shocked and amazed, but most of all, you’ll be inspired.