Books, Editing, Literary, Writing

Your Best Cover

Let me preface this post by saying that book cover design is one of my favorite elements of marketing and is something that I will likely revisit multiple times throughout the course of this blog. (That’s what I get for befriending so many graphic designers.)

Today, rather than delving into matters of typography and color, I will focus on the importance of a cover image. I’m sure that we’ve all been prey to picking up a book with a lovely and gripping cover, only to find that said cover image has little to do with the overall plot. Sure, we’re not supposed to pick a book by its cover but some days you just don’t feel like conducting research prior to browsing the bookstore aisles. Independent authors, in particular, should try their best to select a book cover that will both catch the eye of a casual browser as well as set the tone for the novel.

Since I began working with Kate, we’ve navigated the murky waters of design in all of its forms. Kate has written three novels thus far and we’ve just finished editing her fourth. That being said, the cover designs for the last two novels are much more sophisticated than the first. Readers at book signing events are much more drawn to the third book and often ask who designed the cover. Plus, the promotional materials featuring the fourth book’s cover have been drumming up a ton of attention.

But, readers were much more prone to negatively criticize Kate’s first book purely based on the “misleading” cover. Without boring you with all of the details I’ll just say that the first cover featured a snowy mountain top and was selected with the assistance of Kate’s first agent/publicist. Since the title of the book is Secrets in Bethlehem, readers assumed that the book was somehow related to the biblical Bethlehem instead of Bethlehem, PA (despite Pennsylvania being mentioned on the back cover).

On the heels of our success with the latest covers, Kate decided to go back to the drawing board and re-design the first cover to better reflect the message. The book cover changed from a mountain to a DNA strand and we constructed a new tagline. The design change attracted a wealth of new readers and the reviews changed almost overnight. The novel now has a 4 star rating on Reader’s Favorite and Amazon and has become one of Kate’s best selling novels to date.

As I mentioned earlier, this is the first of many posts regarding cover design so please comment if you’re interested in a particular element of design or would like more information about something featured here.

Topic for next time: The Importance of a Title


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