Book covers! We need to discuss book covers! No single element of your self-published book is as important as the design of your book’s cover. An on-line book buyer will spend no more than nine seconds glancing at the book cover and product information associated with your book. Nine seconds. And, as each second ticks by, the chances of your book being selected for its compelling cover design, scintillating title, product description, and favorable reviews diminish greatly. The clock is ticking…here’s what I suggest you do before you publish your book to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and/or Smashwords:
Review the book cover designs for your genre. Your best bet for commercial success as an author is to pick, and stick with, a particular niche. Look at Dean Wesley Smith, JA Konrath, John Locke, Zoe Winters. Each of these successful authors woo, listen to, and befriend their readers who, by the way, have come to expect a certain design, tone, and style from their authors.
Can you emulate, in a book design, the graphic style that is characteristic to the genre you have chosen? One of my first IndieAuthor mentors had the grace to admit, “I write – it’s what I do. I leave the things I don’t do well to others, including book cover design. I can’t do it all!” Smart author – and successful author – she gives her readers the best of every book ‘element’.
In your review of book cover designs go to the Amazon Kindle web page. .
You’ve landed on the book that Kathi Humphries designed for me. She’s a great talent. I depend on her, and Kat Marriner, for all of my book covers.
Now, in the ‘title bar’ on the right type in the words ‘CreateSpace Books’ . You will probably be able to tell which IndieAuthors designed their book covers using PowerPoint, or a similar program, and which Smart Cookies called in a designer who used a color chart, font designs, correct font size, and genre-matching. Any book cover displaying a rectangle that either blares or whispers the book’s title is self-published by an amateur. This observation will immediately lead your reader to conclude that the contents of your book is just as amateur.
A book cover front panel might cost as little as $300 – mine do! Or, if you can barter and are a member of a group such as the Edmonds Writer’s Group (a publishing cooperative that I am a member of) then covers could be free.
If you insist, though, on a do-it-yourself book cover here are the basic rules and guidelines:
Your friends and fans must be able to actually read the title of your book once it is reduced down to the postage stamp size that is the norm for Amazon cover displays;
Your title should be succinct. Look at the three books on this page-link…they break this rule: . I would recommend that Pinheiro, Weber, and Sivils (and their co-authors) update their books and come up with snappier titles.
Don’t tangle the title of your book up with the graphic on the book’s cover such as Bremmer has done. Bremmer needs a book cover re-design.
And, it ALWAYS boosts a reader’s confidence in purchasing your book if you have at least one, or two ‘Likes’ on your product page, accompanied by a recommendation from … your mom (?) whose last name is different from your own?
I recommend that you take a moment out of your writing, editing, marketing and social networking to really delve into book cover design. Look up the Kindle 100 top sellers and study the book cover designs that are winning readers. Read the blogs of authors whose work you admire and see what they say about book cover design. Although this blogger has taken a hiatus, the blog is perfect for what I am getting at http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/. In fact, there are a lot of fun websites and blogs on the topic of book cover design. Almost without exception they advise that if a book is worth writing, and publishing, it’s worth having a designed-by-an-expert design.
The only book cover I have ever designed on my own (and made money on) was the book I published for Mac Patrick Mexico On A Motorcycle has made $400 in twelve weeks. Because it is non-fiction I don’t have to ‘give it away’ – it sells for $9.99. So the price point and the extensive marketing I have done for Patrick’s book work in his favor. I used a PowerPoint template and embedded one of his own photographs into the slide master, allowing for a two-layer design. The title was superimposed on the top layer with a font style that matches the “Mexico Theme”. The font size and simple title ‘speaks’ to the book buyer as it works with the book’s topic. You want everything working in the same direction when you design your cover – art, font style, and color scheme.
Contact me if you would like tips and advice on how to save money on book cover design, or want a few tips on the secret wonders of PowerPoint designs over the expensive alternative of Adobe Photoshop. firstname.lastname@example.org