Does your book sizzle or fizzle? Those with sizzle draw attention to the book while people often pass over the covers that fizzle.
Your book cover is another form of calling card.
Your book cover is your calling card, so to speak. When you hand someone a business card they should immediately be able to identify your name, how to contact you and what you do. A book cover should communicate the name of the book, what it’s about and who wrote it. An easy to read spine with contrasting print is eye-catching on a shelf in a bookstore or other retail outlet so it will command some attention. The job of the back cover is to tell a little more about the book and perhaps the author once the potential reader picks up the book to inspect it.
Second-party recommendation is a strong tool, so it’s a good idea to also include a few positive blurbs from others on the back. Of course the badge with the ISBN number is essential in these times. Your book can be found in Bowker’s Books in Print by the ISBN number and the badge is scanned by the cashier when your book is purchased in a store.
Now we get to the design. Traditional publishers have their own cover designers and they generally develop a concept from two aspects: what the book is about and designs that sell. The author generally doesn’t have lots of input but it does help to let the designer know about what the author feels are the book’s selling points. If it’s funny, the cover should say funny. If it is ominous, the cover should communicate that and so on. Although A Corpse in the Soup, the first Silver Sisters mystery, is a funny crime caper, our first publisher’s cover did not convey that. I was in a booth at Book Expo America, and had to tell people it’s a funny mystery. My current publisher got what the cover needed. Now there is no doubt that this is a humorous book. Why? Because, when my sister and I moved the series to L&L Dreamspell, we told them the covers had to say “this will make you laugh,” and we showed them the old cover for what not to do.
Many books hit the market now as self-published editions and the authors have total control over the cover. It’s a good idea to check out covers of many books like yours before you make a decision. Which one commanded your attention? Why? Is that something that would help sell your book too? Generic covers are fine, but they are not attention getters. If anything, they almost say “I took the cheaper, lazy way.” A professionally designed cover puts your unique imprint on the book. It isn’t a cover seen over and over again with the only difference being the title and author name. It represents you just like the calling card mentioned above
Think about thumbnail size images
Here is something to consider: With so many online bookstores, it’s essential that the cover not only be readable and attractive when presented full size, but also in thumbnail. Imagine scanning down a list of books on any of the online bookstores. The covers that catch your eye are also the books you are likely to click on to find out more about, and if the author is lucky, the next step is to place an order.
Impact of color
Colors appropriate to your genre, clear, easy-to-read fonts and not a lot of clutter work well for thumbnail images. Unfortunately clutter gets lost in the small image. If your book is a POD, some colors are better than others. I’m not an expert in this facet, but have been told that yellow is a very difficult color to produce consistently for the main color of a POD cover. I have had experience with yellow in a different way and know it intensifies greatly if allowed to reflect upon itself. When I was designing model homes my partner and I made the mistake of specifying yellow for all the walls in a narrow hall. The color was beautiful in the small swatch.
The developer called to say we had to repaint the walls because the color caused people to gasp when entering the hall. We knew that couldn’t be possible and went out to inspect the job. Upon entering the hall, we both gasped. The color was so brilliant it hurt our eyes. Yellow is one of the most translucent colors in the spectrum and in that confined area it intensified many times as the walls reflected upon each other.
Reaching into my interior design background a bit further, as found in the study of color psychology colors produce emotions. In a very general overview, colors in the red ranges cause excitement. Too much red can cause agitation. Blue is extremely calming, green evokes positive reactions and black can be a depressant. Cover designers generally take some of this into account in the overall design.
Just remember, the cover helps to sell the book.
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For more information about MORGAN ST. JAMES and her books and novels, visit www.morganstjames-author.com and www.silversistersmysteries.com. During the month of March, Morgan will be presenting a series of 4 webinars for the SavvyAuthors website. INFORMATION.
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