Let’s face it: People do judge a book by its cover. Book browsers will only give a book a few seconds’ glance. A good cover can draw potential readers in, whereas a poorly designed cover can send them running for the hills.
This is what drives many people to pay an artist hundreds of dollars to do a cover for them. I’m not saying that’s wrong. Just please remember to keep your budget in mind when hiring an artist or purchasing your artwork.
The cover is the first thing people are going to see when they look at your book. So it goes without saying that your cover needs to be an attention-grabber. It needs to stand out among thousands of other books within its genre.
Your cover should do three things:
Advertise the book
Showcase the author
Set the “feel” of the book.
If your book catches a reader’s eye, it might get them to read the back cover (in a store) or product description (for online shopping). Beyond that, they may take a chance on a sample (online) or decide to buy the book right there. And that’s exactly what you want.
When picking cover art, you need to use something that fits within the “norm” for your genre. Look at other books and see what overall theme or style they use. For example: Urban fantasy. Lately, the trend in urban fantasy is a kick-ass female on the cover. She’s generally in front of part of a city view. How about Romance? Generally romance covers have a man and woman in an intimate setting with a scenic background. Simple enough, right?
These are the standards, and they give you a jumping-off point for searching out your artwork. You want your readers, who expect a certain look or feel, to know that your book fits with their standards. That does not mean you should copy someone else’s cover; it means, rather, that you should use it as a springboard.
*Remember this when thinking of cover design: It’s the most important visual sales tool you have, and it’s worth spending a little extra time and a few extra dollars here. Cover art and editing are the two places where most of your budget will be spent (marketing being the remainder).
Want to learn more about self-publishing? Check out my latest release Go Publish Yourself!