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.”
Last week, I interviewed Deirdre Wait, a well-known cover artist with a distinguished career. Having such a designer create many of my covers for publishers has been a plus. But whether you have a professional creating your cover art or are doing it yourself, there are certain important factors you should keep in mind.
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 BLOOD FAMILY, 5th Kim Reynolds mystery. It was designed by Deirdre Wait and the novel will be published May 15th:
What are your feelings regarding cover art? What draws or attracts you to a novel? What do you dislike or prefer not to see?