Judging A Book By It's Cover

We have long been told we shouldn't judge a book by its cover. But when it comes to judging books, that is precisely what happens. The average consumer takes no more than two seconds to consider whether they will choose one book over another, deciding which book is worth buying. Your book cover creates the first impression can often be the difference between you making money as an author or not.

Your book cover creates the all-important first impression. It communicates to the reader whether the book is worth buying. In large part, it is a marketing tool. When designed well, it will increase sales. Conversely, a poorly designed book cover, will lose you customers.

One of the biggest mistakes indie and self-published authors make is to think they can create their book cover. And why not? There are enough free design tools out there, making it relatively easy to create a book cover. Within the space of an hour, any author can put together a few images, select a font for the title of their work and their name. Next thing you know, you have designed a cover for your book. However, more than likely, the book cover will probably look like the author created it. Authors write manuscripts; designers create book covers. The difference is noticeable, and it will show.

Any publisher – and most self-published authors – will tell you the same thing. Spend a little money on your book cover and let a professional do the design work. Professional book designers create engaging, compelling, and professional career: design work that will encourage the consumer to but the book.

As an indie author, your book is placed alongside every other book published that week, including the ones from traditional publishing houses who exclusively use professional book designers. You want your work to stand out for all the right reasons – because the cover design is elegant, compelling, and representative – not because it looks like an author did it. There is no easier way to spot an indie book than by its cover. (Again, we're judging a book by it's cover).

This doesn't imply the author does not have a role to play in the cover design. The author should make notes about the points to be conveyed through the cover art. Give these notes to cover designer and stay close to the process. The cover designer will express the feeling you want to communicate it through the design.

The cover designer will ensure that the design is marketed to the right reading demographic; the design fits the genre and communicates to the reader what to expect inside. They understand the nuances of lighting, color and font in a book cover. They will combine these elements, providing enough clues to the content inside to make the reader want to pick up your book.

Communicating the message of the book, through design, is an essential element. The message must be correct – the book has to meet the reader's expectations; otherwise, they will be disappointed. Disappointment will not create a fan out of the reader, making them unlikely to purchase any more of your work – backlist or upcoming. Disappointment can also lead to a bad review and a bad review hurt future sales from other readers. You want the reader to get what they thought they would be getting by seeing your book cover.

All publishing houses, including online publishers, use professional cover designers. They understand the need and the benefits, because ultimately, as much as the author may believe it's about the writing. The work may not be read if the book cover is not attractive to the reader.


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