Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What Makes for Winning Cover Art?


Every publisher and every author wants the front of their book cover to draw reviewers and readers. I have some thoughts on the topic. I’ll start by example.

My latest novel, DEATH PROMISE, a romantic suspense mystery thriller, will be published by Encircle on May 2, 2018.

http://encirclepub.com/product/death-promise/

It’s already available in pre-order from Amazon both in print and as a Kindle book.

Why was this cover selected? First, let me say that much thought went into the creation. From the cover, readers know immediately that this novel features a romance between a man and a woman. Second, from the cover there is a suggestion of danger--the city at night, the woman holding a gun. Third, it’s clear the novel is intended for an adult readership. I particularly wanted that distinction because I also write YA novels, and unlike those books, DEATH PROMISE does contain some sensual material.

As readers, do you initially judge a book by its cover? It stands to reason that writers want to create an appealing cover that draws the eye. Cover art can make or break a book especially if the author isn’t well-known. What kind of front cover will grab the reader’s attention? What kind of cover art should a book display?  A lot depends on the genre of the book itself. The cover should be appropriate to the type of book. A basic question to ask: is the book going to be sold on the shelf of a bookstore or is it going to be available only online? Is the novel going to be a hardcover, trade, paperback or e-book?

With hardcover fiction books, as with all others, the cover needs to fit the genre, be attractive, while the title should be easy to read and intriguing. Cover art needs to play fair with readers so that they don’t feel cheated when they select a book.
Paperbacks need simplicity in covers. The artwork should also support the title and the genre. E-book covers shouldn’t be too fussy or busy either. The old saying “less is more” works best for a book cover that’s displayed online. A short title with a large, easily readable font and bright contrasting colors shows up well on the computer screen. Publishers want to avoid covers that are complicated and hard to read. Plain, simple graphics are preferable.

What are the qualities of a good cover?

We are able to read the title and author and all subheadings with ease.

The image that doesn't interfere with the written information.

The book cover is memorable: simple yet vivid and pleasing to the eye.

The theme is expressed by the image and in keeping with the genre of the book.

The bottom line for good book covers is that they make you want to read what's between them.

What are your feelings regarding cover art? What draws or attracts you to a novel? What do you dislike or prefer not to see?








24 comments:

  1. Very good overview of cover art, Jacquie, and what to consider when designing or choosing one.

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    1. Thank you, Susan. Of course, the reality is that we writers don't always get the input we would like, but hopefully we do influence the publisher.

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  2. Jacqueline, the cover of my book NIGHTINGALE features the primary character, an 18-year-old woman, and a horse. I am convinced the girl and horse attract more readers than any of my other 13 published books. The unruly stallion who is docile with her draws women readers. Now, I'm trying to figure out how to make the information work for upcoming titles.

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    1. Hi Sharon,

      That does sound like an attractive cover. Congrats on the new novel.

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  3. First, let me say DEATH WISH is a fantastic romantic thriller. The fast-paced action compels the reader from opening to end.
    On covers, oh dear. I have had my problems. I describe in detail what I envision and the artist returns whatever she wants, which is often a dud. Thank goodness my publisher gives me one chance to make changes.
    Nice post!

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    1. Hi Susan,

      Getting that input is so important. Glad it's working for you.

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  4. Great post, Jacquie! Love this cover. I do judge a book by it's cover but not always the artwork but more the blurb or back cover copy.

    Good luck and God's blessings with your new release!
    PamT

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  5. Back covers are another important part of the presentation. I'll have to deal with that in another blog.

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  6. I learned the importance for books sold primarily online to have a simple cover the shows up vividly on a computer screen. Thanks, Jacqueline.

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  7. I agree on the cover points you mentioned. One thing I notice about first time publishing, including my own first novel, is that when there is no other writing on the front, other than title and Author’s name, it looks amateurish. It’s nice that you have that review right on the front, lending credibility to your work.

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    1. Zari,

      I believe blurb endorsements should be both on the front and back covers.

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  8. Love your new cover, Jacqueline, and the advice about covers. I generally dislike dark covers because, well, because they're dark. LOL But the figures in yours show up well, unlike in so many others. When I published one of my first books, Perfect Victim, I decided I wanted a white background, just to be different. The past few months I've seen a few more of those, but they're still rather rare. Keep blogging--your posts are always informative and interesting.

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    1. Jan,

      Thanks for stopping by and offering input. Dark covers seem in the majority for mystery thrillers. But I think a white cover is really great for a cozy mystery. Colors also catch the eye.

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  9. Your new cover is very appealing, and your advice about covers is sound. I read somewhere that the cover is not the place to be original, because readers are attracted to covers that remind them of other books they loved. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this important topic.

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    1. Saralyn,

      Good point about cover art! With genre in particular, it's important to signal readers.

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  10. The points you hit, Jacqueline, show how much can be involved in creating an attractive cover. Thanks for sharing and good luck with the book x

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    1. Mollie,

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

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  11. Very classy cover, Jacqueline and some great advice.

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    1. Glad you like the cover, Kathleen. Thanks.

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  12. Solid information, Jacquie. This is one of my favorite parts of a new book because I am an artist in another part of my life. I hadn't thought about a blurb on the front cover...now I will. Thanks.

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    1. A blurb on the front cover is as helpful as those placed on the back cover.

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  13. I truly enjoyed this book--a real page-turner and the POV balance was exquisite. As for covers...don't get me started. GAHHH! Nice post!

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  14. Thanks, Susan, I hope Amazon allows reviews for the novel soon-although likely not until May 2nd.

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