Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How Important is a book cover?

How Important is a book cover?
A book cover is very important, it's your first opportunity to get someone interested in your book.  When we as authors publish our books on Amazon or get them in a book store, we have about five seconds to get someones attention.  That said, yes a book cover is one of the most important aspects of a good book.

An Ugly Cover
It does not matter if you have written an epic novel, like Gone With The Wind, if you cover does not interest a reader, they're not going to slow down long enough to read the blurb, or the first chapter.  Many good books are looked over, and never read because the Author fell in love with a cover that did nothing to enhance the book.

Cover Artist or Author
Okay lets be truthful are you really a Cover Artist or an author?  This is a very important question. Taking one picture and stretching it over your book and slapping a title and your name on it is not always going to create a great cover that will stop people in their tracks. You say but, it looks okay and it didn't cost anything.  Are you really happy with just okay.  Is just okay going to stop most readers and make them say, I have to read this book?

Know your own limitations 
Sure anyone can make a cover, but can anyone make a great cover?  This takes us back to the days when we were a kid, and we sang a song, and our mothers patted us on the head and said, yes honey you're a great singer. Many of those same kids find out on AI and other reality shows that . . . no, they really can not sing. 

When you make a cover, don't ask your mother or your best friend if it's any good.  Find authors or artist, preferably those that don't know you, and get their opinion.  This way if your cover is no good maybe they'll tell you the truth. 

If at first you don't succeed 
I know we all can't afford a Cover Artist, and we can't all afford adobe Photoshop, but we can all learn from our mistakes. If you make a cover, and it's not great, or it could be better, don't hesitate to make another cover later on.  Most of us when we start out don't have money to spend on covers though really it's the most important aspect of the book, other than editing that we can hire done.  

Changing a cover can be a great thing, and many of us need to take a long look at our covers and see if they are really up to par.  When there are so many novels out there, we need our novel to stand out.  We need the fonts to be easy to read, and we don't need a cluttered, or too simple looking cover. If a reader perceives that an Author is not willing to spend time and money on a cover, they are going to assume the Author is not diligent enough to pay for an editor, or maybe even go as far to think, that they can't even write, when in reality they have done nothing but look at our covers.

You're not an Artist, but you are broke
I can't say that I'm not an artist, because I've drawn images and painted since I was a kid, and I love making covers.  I can say that I didn't know what I was doing when I first started making covers. That said, even if you are not an artist, you can learn from those that are.  Look at what works and what sales, before you make a cover.  Do research, look at over 500 covers or more in the same genre you're writing in to see what others that are successful are doing.

Pre Made Covers 
Also, it never hurts to take a look at the pre-made cover sites.  Many of them are as low as 50 dollars and the covers look awesome.  True they might not fit your cover perfectly, but are they going to grab the attention of a reader faster than something you can make.  The bottom line is you need a cover that will, and can get the attention of the reader. 

Back to learning and getting better
Either in writing, editing, or cover making, we can never stop learning. When we stop learning, we stop becoming better at our job. Also, the more things we can afford to pay to be done, the more time we will have for writing. It never hurts to stop and compare our book covers to someone else. See what someone in your genre that is successful in doing.  You can take this too far, I mean after all Sue Grafton could just put her name on her covers and people would still buy them.  Always put some common sense into your research.

Part two of How Important is a book cover coming Monday

Samantha Fury is the author of the Popular Street Justice Series
she's written many articles on book covers, for Indie Authors.  
She operates several Indie Groups. Editing Services, Cover Artist, 
Helpful Indie Facebook Groups, and a wonderful Forum 
just for Indie Authors.


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