There is an old adage and song that suggests that you can’t judge a book by its cover.
In one way that might be true. If you’ve written a fabulous book and you get your daughter’s boyfriend to knock one up in Microsoft Paint. Mind you, the chances of anyone buying it are going to be slim.
Another option may be that you are a successful writer with a huge fan base. In your case, it doesn’t matter what the cover of your book or eBook looks like.
The Self-Publish Option
BUT, if you are new to self-publishing when people buy books, the first point of contact is the cover. If it’s your first book the buyer is more likely to take a chance if the cover is professional. For example, you search on Amazon for ‘Vampire Fiction’; your eyes immediately are drawn to the pictures rather than to the text. Your cover therefore has to attract attention, AND stand out from the competition.
So how do you get a professional cover for your book or eBook? Simple. You hire a professional. It’s not always as expensive as you might expect. A professional book and eBook designer would be trained in graphic and typographic art and design… or if not trained, have extensive experience.
So how do I make your cover stand out from the competition? Make sure your designer offers you options. When I design covers for an author, I present five ideas. The best one is chosen and developed accordingly.
Title and Author Name
A lot of homemade covers mess this one up. The title and author’s name should be legible at small sizes. It’s OK if you are famous but not if you’ve only written one or two books. Look through the online bookshelves at a range of covers. Small text, especially serif fonts, looks like a spider has pooed over them.
The type style and title establishes a sort of relationship with the reader, branding in fact, which will make your cover more memorable as well as your name when you produce further books.
Other copy on the cover
I don’t really go along with this. More spider poo in my opinion. It also distracts from the immediacy and impact of the cover. ‘Less is more’. If you want to say anything about the book there is an area next to the cover on the page, which repeats the title and author and allows for descriptive copy. If it’s a print book you have the back cover to work with.
If you self-publish an eBook it is important to create a print version too. Lots of people prefer ‘old-fashioned’ books. Createspace and Lulu are major players in the print-on demand (POD) market. With both books on Amazon together you are taken seriously as an author and print books are great marketing tools. The cover is slightly more complicated to produce because it has a spine and back cover, but if produced at the same time as the eBook can be very cost effective.
Just a reminder that if you plan to produce a series of books, make sure they have similar branding and that people can tell what order they are in.