It’s all about book covers for me at the moment. I’ve been working on the cover for ‘A Writer’s Alphabet’, my book (almost there) compiled from some of the blog posts on writing and being a writer that I did last September in the A to Z challenge. Also the cover for ‘A Piano Player’s Son’ has now been finalised!
You can’t judge a book by its cover, the saying goes, but many of us do exactly that when we’re deciding whether to buy a book or not. If the book is by an author whose work we are not familiar with, research suggests people judge by the cover first, then the blurb and then the first few sentences or paragraphs.
So, the cover has really got its work cut out. I’ve been lucky – I loved the cover of ‘Unravelling’ and it’s received so many compliments. But that means I want the same high standard with subsequent books, and there’s so much to think about.
The image – What sort of picture should go on the cover? It’s got to attract potential readers, especially your target audience. It needs to capture the interest, but not be too gimmicky and put people off. It should convey something about the content of the book. So much work to do. Such a responsibility sits on the shoulders of your chosen image.
The target audience – Will the people you hope might be interested in the book recognise it as something for them? Will it seem relevant, attractive, helpful? Are you sending out confused messages?
The title – Can potential readers read the title? Is it in the right place, in an appropriate font? Does it help convey the book’s subject matter?
The colours – Are the colours attractive? Do they blend? Again, have they taken into account the potential audience? Will it still work in black and white?
Thumbnail – So many books covers are now viewed on sites such as amazon or on FB, so the cover has to work in a thumbnail as well.
So many questions. So much to decide on if you are self-publishing, and it’s so important to get it right. That’s why some self-publishers use professional designers. It’s very difficult for an amateur to make a good job of it. Your book is your baby, and as one succinct comment I read put it – you don’t wrap your baby in a dirty blanket, do you?
I must admit I made a mistake with my first cover for ‘A Writer’s Alphabet’! As I’ve written on here before, I’d planned to use my little juggling friend who accompanied some of the original blog posts. But, following a mock up of the cover, I had cold feet and sought advice. And, unfortunately, little juggler sends out the wrong message, suggesting a book for children. He might have been fine for the blog, but wasn’t going to do the job for the book, so back to the drawing board!
I’m so glad I did, as I’m really pleased with the new version. And here it is!
Of course, if you’re being published traditionally, a different set of problems present themselves – you don’t choose the cover! I’ve heard lots of authors complaining about their covers, or saying they don’t match the genre, convey the wrong idea and so on. This is hard – in the same way you wouldn’t wrap your baby in a dirty blanket, you wouldn’t dress them in clothes you don’t like or which don’t suit them.
Luckily, I DO like my cover for ‘The Piano Player’s Son’, and I’ll be revealing it on here very soon!
If you’re interested in book covers, you can check some more out here