Monday, September 30, 2013

Henry Mosquera – Why Book Covers are So Important

Why Book Covers are So Important

by Henry Mosquera

A lot of self-published writers confuse aesthetics with effectiveness. A good book cover is not meant to please our eyes but to garner attention. Your cover should stand out from those around it, it should stay in people’s minds, and it should generate interest. Let’s say you see a bunch of novels and one stands out because you hate the cover. You may comment about it to a friend, make fun of it and bring it up whenever an example is appropriate. Well, guess what? That hateful image is living happily inside your head, when better-executed covers have failed to make an impression. An extreme case, perhaps, but it illustrates the difference between “pretty” versus “attractive.”

A book cover has more in common with a billboard than a painting. You want to grab a potential reader’s attention; they don’t have to fall in love with the artwork. The publishing industry knows that awards, blurbs from famous authors, and reputable reviews sell novels not covers.

Of course, a cover is the first impression a reader gets of your book. So you want it to be professional, which is one of the problems most indie novels face. Just as Microsoft Word doesn’t necessarily breed good writers, Adobe’s Photoshop doesn’t make you a professional artist. These are just tools take make the work easier for the initiated. You can cut and paste all you want and play with fonts and filters, but a computer program will not transfer you the skills of a trained designer. No matter how simple it may look to you.

If you don’t have the skills, hire someone who does. The last thing you want is for a reader to look at your novel and go, “Meh, it looks amateurish and cheap,” and walk away (click away?) from your novel. You may have spent all of this money on editors, manuscript annalists and proofreaders to shape up your novel to a professional quality, but if no one picks it up, who cares? If you are self-published the odds are already against you. The stigma of unprofessionalism already mires your work, whether it’s true or not. So why position yourself on a lesser light? Invest on a professional cover. That’s right, it’s not an expense, but an investment towards your books success. As independent authors, we have to strive to do everything in our power to present our work in the highest quality possible. Otherwise we will never shake off the image of the raggedy horde of untalented creators.

If you truly posses the skill set to design your covers, here are a few tips you may find useful: artwork doesn’t have to be overtly elaborate to fulfill its purpose. Most covers out there are busy, cliché and forgettable. Spend some time thinking about your book’s cover, go to a bookstore and see what pops out from the shelves and analyze why. Search the Internet for lists of the best covers and study how the designers approached their task. Keep in mind that the artwork of your book will most likely be used in other ways like banners, social media sites, tie-in merchandising i.e. T-shirts, etc. You want your design to be able to transfer easily to whatever suits your marketing and advertising needs. Think branding. Remember, your book is not only what lies between the covers, but what is on them as well. It deserves the same kind of care and attention.

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Genre – Political Thriller

Rating – R

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