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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ever * REALLY * think about what your book cover is for?

Like many of my blog posts, this post was inspired by a conversation I recently had on Twitter.

I work as a cover artist and designer on both sides of the publishing spectrum (traditional & indie publishing), and no matter your side of the publishing rainbow, one question affects both sides ... What to do about a cover? 

Maybe if we ask and answer this question first, it won't be such a mystery ... What is a book cover's job?

The 's job? To stand out among books in its genre, while being clear what genre it is, to compel one to read the blurb.

on Twitter says "I've often said books need to be like the popular kids in high school -- stand out while still fitting in. :)" ***

Yes, everyone has their own sense of aesthetic and that no cover will attract every reader. I also know numbers don't lie. Market research shows that 70% of all book sales have the cover to thank. Knowing this, it's no wonder traditional publishers, as well as indie authors, think a great deal about a book's cover.

However, the big boys can afford to think outside the box, so to speak. It's popular right now to hire a designer who doesn't illustrate the story but just creates a great design. The Twilight series is great examples of this. Beautiful designs. But if you didn't know what the book was about, would any of these covers tell you they are books you want to read? Is the series in your favorite genre?

Of course, you know it is. Why? Because the publisher threw an insane amount of money into paying big-time reviewers, paid book retailers to spotlight them, and an obscene amount of press. But it wasn't the cover that told you. There is absolutely nothing about vampires or activities in the book to explain the elements on the covers.

So what's my advice to authors who want to mimic abstract, best-seller designs?

Just any great design doesn't necessarily work for both traditionally published books and Indie books, alike. Indie authors, even traditionally publishing small-medium house authors, don't have the hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in book tours, marketing campaigns, and publicity. What they can manage is a professional cover artist and/or designer to create marketing aids (banners, website, etc) and a really good book cover, a good professional edit, plus as much free social networking they can squeeze into whatever free time they may have.

This means going abstract with the biggest, most important marketing tool you have, is a REALLY BAD IDEA.

I've chosen to feature Blood & Steel and Dark Dining (two of my own cover creations) to help make a point. The color schemes and genres are the same as Twilight's. You can hire an artist to follow the minimalist, black-cover trend, and still visually provide a hint as to genre and plot.

Make sure your artist knows what you like and your genre. It doesn't hurt if they also have some marketing experience. Make sure the cover scene or design exemplifies not only the genre but the book. Tell readers at a glance, "Hey! You REALLY want to read the blurb for this book."

After that, the decision to buy is out of the cover's hands and up to the blurb to sell it. Tag! You're it!

Onto wrapping up the next book :-D
Until next time ...
Aidana WillowRaven


This post edited by Grammarly*
*Blurbs and quotes provided are not edited by WillowRaven, but posted as provided by author/publisher. 


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