Friday, April 25, 2008

Vol. 8 / The Importance of a Great Book Cover Design

The Front Cover

In the old days, books were sold without a cover and buyers would bind them according to their own desires or needs. Now, the books cover has become one of the most important selling components to a book. Over half of booksellers feel the cover design is the most important component.

If you are accepted by a traditional publishing house, they will design a book cover for your book. If you use a POD (print on demand) publisher, you can hire them to design a cover, or you can submit your own design. When you self-publish you either hire a freelance cover designer or design your own.

The average person spends 8 seconds looking at the front cover and 15 seconds on the back. It is a fact, that the front cover of a book is what draws the initial attention from the buyer, if he doesn’t like the cover, he won’t look any closer at the book.

There are specific points to a cover which seem to attract the most attention. The title, size and clarity of the text, the colors, and the size of the book are amongst the top four. Make sure your title not only represents the books contents, but is clear and comprehendible to the potential buyer. The color red seems to attract the most attention to book covers. But since red is also the color most commonly associated with danger, depending on your title and subject matter, red may not be an appropriate color for your book. The size of the book is not so relevant as long as the colors are good and the title is the appropriate size for the books cover. Children’s books may be the exception to “size matters.” Children prefer larger books with many colors on the cover.

Take a trip to the library and pick out several books of different sizes and colors. If you lay them all out together and stand back six or eight feet, you will notice which sizes and colors attract your attention best. To get more feedback for you own book, pick only books similar to your subject matter. Your books title should be easily readable from at least six feet away.

An average of 13 hours is spent designing a book cover. The cost of a professionally designed cover can be as low as $500 and as much as $3,500. It could cost less if you already have artwork picked out, or if you have a good idea of what you want the cover to look like.

The back cover

Since 15 seconds are spent by the average person looking at the back cover of your book, you need to be sure it will sell the book. The buyer is looking at the back cover for a reason to buy the book. He will want to know what the book is about, who’s endorsing it, and why. He also wants to know how the book will solve his issue, whatever that may be; or how the book will entertain him. If all his questions are answered effectively, he will then briefly scroll through the book; now he may buy.

For non-fiction books, your back cover description should start by asking a question about the book subject, or address the problem that the book was written to resolve. For instance, a book about stress-relief might start with “Do you often feel stressed?” Follow that by explaining briefly how your book will solve that problem, or what the potential buyer will learn by reading your book. In other words, how will your book benefit the reader? Most likely, there are other books similar to yours, look at their back covers to see how they have formatted them and what information might attract the reader, then improve on that. Give the reader a reason to choose YOUR book instead of another.

For a fiction book, your back cover should lure the reader into wanting more. An intriguing lead into what lies ahead, but only to those who buy your book.

Testimonials sell books. You should have testimonials from professionals willing to endorse your book included on the back cover. Testimonials for your book should be done by professionals related to the book’s subject matter. If you have written a medical journal, you’re testimonials should be written by medical professionals. If the subject matter is golf, your book should include testimonials from golf professionals, and so on.

Include your bio on the back cover or inside the jacket cover. People like to see a photo of the author as well. They want to be able to relate to you and what you are saying in the book; it makes their reading experience more personal. In your bio, tell them why you are qualified to write this book and why you wrote it.

Make a professional looking picture of your books front and back cover for all promoting and advertizing. JPG is the most popular and most requested format to use when adding an image to online ads and promotion sites.

Take your time to present a well formatted and attractive book cover and you will see positive results when your book is released.

Covers Sell Books

E-zine Author: Carol Denbow
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Copyright © May 2008 by Plain & Simple Books, LLC
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1 comment:

Duncan Long said...

Some great advice. It is always sad to see a well-written book "sunk in the harbor" by a cheap-looking cover. When a self-publisher or small press goes to all the trouble of creating a book, it pays to spend just a bit more and put a quality illustration or photo on the front. And the pay off in added sales quickly makes the money spent an investment on future sales.

Freelance illustrator for HarperCollins, PS Publishing, Pocket Books, Solomon Press, Ballistic Media, American Media, Fort Ross, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, and other publishers. See my illustrations at: