Jun 3, 2011

4 Rules for Book Covers

You know by now there is more to producing a novel than just writing it. You need to market it, build your platform and (if you self-publish) create your cover.

There are plenty of graphic artists you can go to for cover design, but perhaps you've decided you can do that yourself? If you're handy with Photoshop, chances are you can. But first, there's a lot of things to consider for your book cover design.
  1. Market. Search online to see other book covers aimed at the same age-group and in the same genre as your book cover. What are the signature colours and designs (for example, black and red are popular for horror and paranormal fantasy, and, purple is often used for fantasy).
  2. Title and text. Unless you are a household name, the usual rule is to put the title of the book big and the author name smaller. You've spent all that time coming up with an enticing title (I hope), now is the time to let it do the work for you. In a lot of online ebook stores, shoppers will be browsing through and noticing titles. And it is so important that you play with your colours to make sure the text pops against the background. The cover is the first point of sale between you and the customer. Don't put grey text on black or brown text on red. 
  3. Image. This can be tricky. Unless you are an amazing photographer, you wont get one of those awesome photo shots that appear on a lot of book covers (especially YA). If you have art skills, use them. If not, try photo stock websites like Shutterstock. You can buy a licence to use a professional image for your cover.
  4. Size. Don't busy it up. Remember, when you look through books on Amazon, mostly you are getting a thumb-size image. Check to make sure you book looks clear and enticing at that size. Despite the debates on pricing, a lot of customers buy books by appeal. Make sure they find your tiny little book cover appealing enough to click on it.
The key to marketing is communication. Your cover is a form of communication, you want the message to be understood and received positively by the receiver. Here's an example of a cover I really like:
Amanda Ashby's cover will appeal to teens, it's trendy and colourful. I like that the body looks like a teen, but the head is gone. This could be anyone, this could be the reader. The colours go great together and it is obviously in the fantasy genre from the images. It's girly, but kick-ass with the sword. I saw this thumbnail on a website and immediately went and ordered the book.

18 comments:

  1. This is a wonderful post, Charmaine, and so very true. I really, really love the cover of Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel, as well as the one chosen for her upcoming December release, Clockwork Prince. Gorgeous colors, handsome fella on the cover, beautiful font--who could ask for more?

    The Fairy Bad Day cover, by the way, is TOO cute! Love the sword and her way cool leggings. :)

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  2. Hilarious, kinda, imaging an unknown splashing their name in 56 point on the cover beneath a teeny title.

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  3. Great tips. I've often wanted to create a book cover for my novels before they are ready for publication but it would take up too much time when I shuld be writing hehehe ;)
    And you are right: the catchy covers are the simple ones.

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  4. I like these tips. I especially like the idea to keep it from being too busy. Busy can be so distracting and take away from what you want to accomplish. Good post, thanks! :)

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  5. I am so glad I found your blog. I am a chef and food writer looking to publish. Your information is valuable for someone like me as well as to those who write fiction. Thanks, I'm a new follower.

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  6. Gotta agree that cover is eye-catching. I saw it on a review blog and just had to stop and read the blurb.

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  7. That is a nice book cover. Thanks for the info. I haven't even thought that far ahead, but hopefully I'll be struggling with cover decisions soon.

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  8. This is a *fabulous* cover. The image is perky and appropriate - and very original. I rarely read YA, but the cover alone is sucking me into this one! Thanks for sharing, Charmaine.

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  9. Hi, You are right about covers...you really do "judge a book by its cover" many times. You gotta be grabbed first by the cover, and then the title, before you are tempted to open it. Blurb is important on the back of the cover as well. Thanks for those tips.
    Ruby

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  10. Definitely cover art is what grabs us at first. Thanks! Blessings, Joanne

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  11. Yes, I agree. That cover is GREAT!

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  12. Looking forward to your game picks for Monday's blogfest!

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  13. This is a great post. Covers catch the eye before a blurb on the back of the book. Great cover = reading of a blurb. Great blurb = buying of a book.

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  14. Hi Charmaine! Great post - covers are so important! And thank you so much for your lovely comments on my cover!

    When my editor asked for ideas I suggested a girl holding a sword and I was so thrilled when they actually did it! It's definitely my favourite cover so far and it looks even better in real life because there are adorable little stars that swirl all over the place! Anyway, thanks again for the support and I hope you enjoy Fairy!

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  15. I love this cover. Very cool! :) I must admit I choose books for their covers.

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  16. I love that cover.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

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  17. I agree--that cover is BRILLIANT! These are great tips, and they could apply to so many design projects in addition to book covers.

    Carla

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  18. These are great tips for someone designing a book cover. I like the Fary Bad Day cover, too. Definitely eye catching.

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