The Power of Book Covers

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November 13, 2014

The Power of Book CoversOne of the foremost concerns of authors is how to sell more books. There are a hundred and one ways to sell a book, but many authors still struggle to break into the market. On the other hand, some authors don’t realize that improving their book’s sales potential is easier than it seems.

If you’ve been racking your brain trying to figure out what you’re doing wrong, simply show your sales page to an avid reader and they’ll tell you immediately why you’re not making any sales.

Book covers are the first thing people see. They are a window into the book’s soul; they provide a glimpse into what lies beyond a book’s front flap. A reader falls into either two states during those few seconds of noticing a book sitting on a shelf: attraction or lack of interest. Our human brains are hardwired to process images quicker than words. One look is enough for us to decide to give a book a second glance.

A great book cover makes a book easier to market. Your book cover will not only appear on the front of the paperback version of your book. It will be used as a thumbnail for your sales page, the main image for your marketing campaign, and the principal image of your marketing materials. A bad cover will be the death of any book, even if you’ve written the next great American novel.

Select a great cover. Not a good one, but a great cover. Times are better for authors everywhere thanks to self-publishing. However, with this revolutionary change in the publishing landscape comes the challenge of creating a stunning and professionally designed cover. The only way to craft an attractive cover is to make it look like your book isn’t self-published. There lies the irony of it all.

This is where professional designers step into the picture. A professional designer, a great one that is, will allow your book to have a distinct face.

Take a look at these two book covers:

The first book is a guide for de-cluttering your home, but ironically, its cover looks overstuffed with details.

While the second book is a successful classic by George Orwell, it has these features that make it a good book cover:

  • Generously designed, but has enough space to create a clean layout
  • Perfectly matching color combination
  • There is a central object that adds focus (imagine the cover without the eye – it would be boring)
  • The central object really pops out
  • The cover art looks clever with respect to the story
  • Uses a fitting font
  • Captures the book’s theme
  • No bizarre, blatantly photo manipulated elements

Unless you’re a qualified graphic designer, do not attempt to create your own book cover. Leave this part to the pros, for they have the skills, experience, and knowledge of the principles and elements of design. Many graphic design services allow their clients to retain creative control, and if that’s the case, you still need to seriously consider the professional’s opinion and recommendations. While a cover art may look fascinating in your eyes, it may be the complete opposite to everyone else’s.

If you want to give birth to a book and see it succeed, don’t think twice about getting a professional designer. This is your baby (so to speak), and every parent wants the best for their child. You expended an inordinate amount of time, energy, and effort into making your masterpiece, so wouldn’t you dedicate the same amount of care and attention to selecting the cover?