When it comes to self-publishing, judging a book by it’s cover is the norm. A tacky ‘home-made’ cover screams UNPROFESSIONAL! Literally, screams. You know yourself that you wouldn’t touch a Microsoft Paint, half-assed photo with a couldn’t-care-less font with a barge pole. So why expect other readers to see past a miserable looking cover and take a chance that there might be a good story hidden underneath?
Hence the importance of a good book cover. Ergo the importance of hiring a book cover designer. I recently revealed my new cover for The Cross Of Santiago (oh what the hell, let’s look at it again!)
I’m particularly delighted with my cover because it does one of the most important jobs that a cover should do – it provides a description of what lies within, using imagery instead of words. Also, it doesn’t look like I made it myself – equally important!
So if you’re just setting out, how do you decide on the kind of cover that will suit your book? It helps if you have a rough concept to bring to a designer and there are a couple of ways to do this. First up, write a list (or even a mini synopsis) of all the important points in your book. What are the over-riding themes? Where is the story set? What is the main character’s conflict/journey/issue? Then it’s time to think of the genre – crime, romance, sci-fi. How can you let your readers know what they are getting when they buy your book? What you don’t want is someone leaving a bad review of your book because they’ve been misled by the cover. My best advice in this case is to research other books in your genre. See what kind of covers they use and if there is a pattern that lets readers know what particular genre they belong to.
Chick Lit covers are often vilified for their over use of pink and fluffy covers, but the point is, readers can judge at a glance whether or not this book is for them. This is equally the case online – browsers decide in a matter of seconds, based on your cover, whether or not this is something of interest to them. So it is really worth taking the time to get your cover right for yourself and your readers. If you have spent time writing a good story, editing it, re-drafting it, shaping it and moulding it, don’t do it the disservice of covering it in any old tat. Give your novel the best shot you can in a market swamped with new releases and hyped up authors – make a beautiful cover that entices your readers. It doesn’t have to cost the earth, there are so many cover designers out there for every budget. You can check out the designer I used here if you like what you see. Then share your cover stories here – I’d love to hear about them 🙂