‘Never judge a book by it’s cover’. People are far too intelligent to do that, right? Wrong. If your lovingly crafted words and years of hard work are encased in a sub-standard cover, you can be sure that no-one’s going to read them. So where do you go from here?
Well, the bookshop would be a good start. Make your way to the section which stocks the genre your book fits into. Check out the sizes, as different genres publish different sized books. It’s important that your book fits in with others of it’s type – literally.
While you are there, take a close look at the bestsellers in this section. What is the predominant colour? Do they use imagery? What type of font is used? How big is it? You can also do this at home by checking out the online booksellers. Make sure you look at current books; cover design, like clothes, follows fashion, and if booksellers think your book looks old-fashioned, they are not going to display it prominently.
Now you know what your competitors are doing, it’s time to make a start on the front cover. This is usually done before the book is typeset so that marketing and PR can take place. You’ll need to decide what text is going on the front cover (the title, subtitle, author’s name, maybe a testimonial – but don’t put too much on, as less is definitely more) and have an idea of whether you are going to incorporate a photo or illustration. I always start with a pencil and paper, and once I see some ideas that might work, transfer them to the screen.
For more information, take a look at my related blogs (part 2 and part 3).