Readers Will Judge Your Book by Its Cover
“You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
It’s a nice moral metaphor, but taken literally, not really applicable in today’s competitive book market. Unless you’re a well-established author with a track record of bestsellers, readers are definitely judging your books by their covers.
Why Your Book Cover Matters
You’ve spent countless hours, maybe even years, crafting the content of your book. You may be thinking “of course my book will sell because the story contained within is so gripping and relevant.”
Not so fast. First impressions are kind of a big deal.
Let’s consider the typical new book shopper . . .
Just browsing in a bookstore, this person hasn’t really done any research but knows the genre/subject matter they are looking for. Of course they have their go to authors, but now they want something new.
Glancing over a shelf in the mystery section, an eye-catching cover jumps out at them. They pick it up. Read the back cover. Read the inside flap. Flip through a few pages. Decide to purchase.
None of this happens, if the cover image doesn't grab their attention. Your book cover is your first opportunity to make a sale.
The Elements of an Effective Book Cover
Creating an effective book cover image is an essential step towards setting your book apart from the masses. It is also important to keep in mind that a good book cover image isn't all about aesthetics. While the artistic elements of your book cover image play an important role, it is also vital that your book cover conveys an inquisitive and engaging message.
A book cover can be broken down into two distinct elements:
- Style – Are you using photography or illustration? Are you going to include characters or make it somewhat abstract? Will the image wrap around the entire book or just the front?
- Typography – What will the text of the title and author name look like? Big swooping letters or hard-edged text?
Once you have those elements nailed down for your target audience, you need to create a book cover image that:
- Looks professional
- Captures attention
- Gives a sneak peek
How to Attract Readers with Your Book Cover
You should spend just as much time and effort on your cover image as you did making sure your writing and content was well-polished. And just like the content of your book, the image needs to speak to a specific audience.
Here are a few helpful tips on creating a book cover that presents the perfect mesh of style and typography for optimal impact, and that also resonates with readers on a higher level:
- Consider hiring a professional cover designer. If you are not an artist, creating an effective book cover image on your own may be challenging. Yes, this is an additional cost to you, but a cover that helps sell your book is a worthwhile investment.
- Choose a book cover image that relates to your genre. If it is an art book, it should look artistic. If this book is about a true crime murder, maybe something like a blood splatter. A child’s book? Pick imagery with a bit of whimsy.
- Pay attention to details. Details can be anything from color schemes to a graphic that wraps around the book to placement of imagery and text. Make sure you give your final cover image design a meticulous inspection.
- Choose a cover image with a story. More than just looking attractive, the book cover needs to be a porthole into the content of the book. This is just as important as the visual aspects of the design.
Whether scrolling an online listing, or strolling the aisle of a bookstore, millions of book vie for reader’s attention every day. Even though competition is tough, a well-designed book cover image gives you a strategic advantage to make the best first impression.