Friday, November 15, 2019

Creating the Right Book Cover

Every publisher and every author wants a book cover that will draw reviewers and readers. “A cover only has seconds to make an impact,” says Becky Rodriguez-Smith, Design Services Manager at BookBaby. “Our purpose is to create visuals that will grab a potential reader’s attention so that they click on the book to read more about it. To that end, the bolder the better.”

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, e-book or audio—possibly all of these?

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 inside.

Here is the cover for my latest novel, an historical romance set during the American Revolution, which just received an excellent review from the Historical Novel Society:


The hero and heroine appear as if they are about to kiss, which fits this novel. The background setting evokes the Pine Barrens of NJ where much of the novel takes place.

Book Links: 


Goodreads


Amazon


B&N

Nook

Kobo

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








19 comments:

  1. Jacqueline,
    I agonize over my own book covers and the titles on them, even back cover material and spines for print versions.They're the first thing a reader sees on online retailers' web pages, catalogs, and in bookstores.
    As a reader, I have a checklist: title, cover, and a peek inside. Reviews are subjective, so I don't pay much attention to them, including the NY Times Book Review, but if an author fails on two items on my checklist, I generally ignore the book. In my capacity as reviewer, I'm a big more generous, but, even in that case, I use the checklist to select books that I want to read and review.
    r/Steve

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  2. Hi Steven,

    I think yours is a good checklist. You're right about reviews being subjective unfortunately.

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  3. Coming up with a good cover design is truly an art, and I have nothing but admiration for designers. I could never match what they do, but I have learned a lot by reading blogs that talk about covers (like yours), talking to designers, and looking at books just for the covers regardless of whether or not the topic interests me. There's so much to making a book appealing to a reader that we should never stint on any one aspect of a book. Thanks for a good overview of the basics for those of who really need them.

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    Replies
    1. Susan,

      You're most welcome. I think your mysteries series have excellent cover art.

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  4. You are right on every point about choosing a cover. There is both a science and an art to it. I see you practice what you preach, too, because your newest cover is quite tantalizing.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Saralyn. I don't take credit for the cover. It was a collaboration between myself and Kate Miles, my editor at Luminosity.

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  5. When my publisher and I parted ways last year and I self-published my five Malone mysteries, I decided to choose simple covers that "summarized" what the book was about. I used a single image on each cover. But, with my new small town mystery series, I've used images that I purchased and I designed the title, etc. to work with the images. I'm fortunate to have a good friend who is a graphic artist and he's been a tremendous help.
    A personal pet peeve on covers: I don't like "real" people on covers. A silhouette or a distance shot of a person is fine.

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    Replies
    1. Pat,

      I'd like to do some research to determine if readers prefer actual people on covers or as you say a silhouette. I suspect you're right about it.

      Delete
    2. When I read, I like to picture the characters based on the descriptions the author has written. When actual people are on the cover, it ruins that for me.

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    3. It's true that they never get the description just right for the cover.

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  6. I think book covers are important for the very reasons you mentioned. For an author new to me, an intriguing cover can make the difference between an impulse buy or a pass.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Maggie,

      I confess to being attracted by the cover art and then turn to what is written there.

      Delete
  7. Great post!
    Love your cover.

    I really love it when the cover depicts the story. My Keri's Christmas Wish is one of my favorite covers....everything about it depicts the story.

    Good luck and God's blessings with your new book
    PamT

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Pam. I'm glad you like the cover for Sinful Seduction.

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  8. The cover attracts me but the blurb draw me in.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Janice, for commenting. Your input is appreciated.

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  9. Lots of great advice here, Jacqueline! Thanks for sharing.

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