Category: Cover Design

The Importance of the Book Cover

The Importance of the Book Cover

You walk up to the bookstore. Chances are, before you even enter, you’ve seen them in the window. Bright colors, shades of grey, pastels, neutrals. Maybe they’ve got pictures on them, sometimes just words. Thousands of them sit on display in the window and throughout the store. They lure us in as readers, and make us think as writers.

Book covers.

Love Set in Stone
Novel: Paranormal Romance

As writers, we spend a lot of time thinking about the importance of our words and making sure they’re placed just so in our manuscripts. A lot of our blood, sweat and tears is put into these works before some of us even put any thought into what we will wrap them in.

It brings to mind the phrase “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”

That is, however, exactly what people do. Many readers who are in a book store are drawn in by the cover of a book. The design, the colors, the font – any of those things can be appealing to someone.

There are several things that go into cover designing that catch a reader’s attention, but here are my top three:

  1. Title and byline font
    Most people will recognize the font used on a Harry Potter book cover, or a Twilight book cover – that’s because these fonts were unique, and popped, drawing the eye of the reader.
  2. Colors
    The colors used in the cover of a book are important. Not only is the right color scheme eye-catching, but it can tell a reader subconsciously the overall tone of a book. Books for children are typically bright-colored, and have happy, educational themes, whereas a book about a murder or mystery might be in dark tones, like black with blood red accents.
  3. Representation of the book’s content
    The cover of a book, in combination with its title, should accurately portray a general idea of what the book will be about. For example, the cover of a romance novel might have a couple intimately depicted, while a children’s book might have animals or shapes on the front.

There are many websites available for an author who wants to design their own book cover to find graphics. Most of these sites are not free, but look more professional than something done in Photo Shop if you’re not experienced in graphic designing. Personally, I prefer to outsource my book cover designs, because I have no experience in graphic designing. It all depends on your comfort level.

When submitting to a publishing company, many publishers look for the same things in the cover I mentioned above. If you haven’t created a cover for your book, or outsourced already, it doesn’t hurt to check with prospective publishing companies to see if they have graphic designers they work with regularly.

Hopefully, these things help when you’re considering whether or not to design your own book cover, or outsource. Ultimately, though, I hope it helps you understand how to determine if the book cover will help to market your book properly. For more submission tips, browse through the AIW Press blog.

Can You Judge a Book by Its Cover?

Can You Judge a Book by Its Cover?

Okay, confession time. As much as I love my Kindle and the opportunity to carry an entire library in my purse, I often miss making visits to a brick and mortar bookstore. There is something to be said about perusing the aisles filled with dozens of books.

And way back before the days of Internet shopping, online reviews, and social media, readers often had to rely on word of mouth when selecting books. Reading the back cover or the first page of a book was a factor for me before deciding if I wanted to check out a book from the library or make a purchase. Especially if the author was unfamiliar. But before I opened the book, before I turned it over to read the back, I first looked at the front. If I found the cover to be appealing, then I would move to the next step.

I’m a big fan of mystery and suspense novels. I still recall the first time I saw a book by the now famous author, Mary Higgins Clark. I was at a bookstore (in the fiction section, no less) when I saw the spine of Where Are The Children. The title got my interest, so I pulled a copy from the shelf and looked at the cover. I saw a house located beside a body of water. Tall brown grass indicated to me the story likely took place in the autumn.  But the thing that intrigued me most was the single red mitten in the foreground.

After reading the back cover, which further piqued my interest, I walked to the register, bought the book, took it home and began to read. Years later, I’ve read dozens of Mary’s books and have to say she is probably the author who most inspired me to write mystery and suspense stories.

And it all began with a book cover.

A few years ago, a friend of mine loaned me a book that was written (and self-published) by someone she knew. I kept it around the house for a few weeks, but I never opened it to look inside. Why? The cover looked amateurish. The back was plain white. No author information. No blurb. Nothing. I can’t even remember the title of the book or what was on the front, but I do know it was no more appealing that the back side. The content may have been high-quality writing and an interesting topic, but the writer lost me by not having a good cover.

To be honest, I have read (or attempted to read) some books in which I liked the covers but not the story itself. No matter how pleasing a cover looks, if your content isn’t good, readers won’t continue to purchase your books. But having a professionally designed cover is a must. It’s worth spending a few dollars to hire someone who is an expert at what they are doing. In the long run, you’ll be glad you did.




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