Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pendelton Wallace on Why Book Covers are So Important #SelfPub #WriteTip #Thriller



Why Book Covers are So Important

All my life, I have heard that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Yet, that is what we do. I’m as guilty as anyone else.
I go into the bookstore, or the on-line web site, and look at the covers. If the cover grabs my attention, then I read the back jacket or the description. That may lead me to look inside the book and maybe even buy the book.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t base my buying decision on the cover, but the cover is what first attracts my eye and gets me to look at the book.
I don’t think I am A-typical in this respect. Your cover needs to tell the story in such a way that the reader will want to look further. I am currently reading a book about a young man in Narobi, Kenya. The cover has a picture of a beautiful woman with an automatic pistol on the floor. The story that I’m reading has nothing to do with the cover picture.
If I had bought the book because I thought it was a good thriller/mystery, I would be terribly disappointed.
My point is that the cover must represent what the story is about. In The Inside Passage, I used a picture of a cruise ship on the Inside Passage with cross-hairs over it. What does that tell you about the story?
The story is about a group of al-Qaeda terrorist that are plotting to blow up a cruise ship on the Inside Passage of Canada. I’m hoping that the cover of the book conveys that message and grabs a shopper’s interest.
The Inside Passage is the first in a series of novels about computer security analyst Ted Higuera’s adventures. I want the covers to tie the books together so that when a reader sees the cover they will instantly know that this is another Ted Higuera thriller.
To this end, all of his stories will have cross hairs on the cover. The second book in the series, Hacker for Hire, is about corporate greed and industrial espionage at a major computer manufacturer in Seattle. So, for the cover, I took a picture of the Seattle skyline and imposed the cross hairs on it. I really like this cover.
The third book in the series, The Mexican Connection, is about the Mexican drug wars. For this cover I will probably use a picture of the Zocalo in Mexico City with the cross hairs on it.
In this way, all of the books have a common “look and feel” to their covers and readers will be able to recognize that they are part of a series.
Back to what to put on your cover. What is your genre? There seems to be a common theme in covers in each genre. For instance, romance novels. You can tell immediately by looking at the cover that it is a genre novel. Is that Fabio, holding a beautiful woman with one hand while fighting off the pirates with the other?
Don’t copy others, but look for good ideas. I’m not above stealing good ideas from anybody. Do you have a favorite author in your genre? What do they do about a cover? Take their ideas, tweak them and make them your own.
And, for goodness sake, make your covers readable. I have seen some covers with such convoluted type fonts that I can’t read the title of the book. Or the title is twisted around the art work and is difficult to decipher. I’m sure it’s all very arty, but I don’t like it. I want to be able to read the title and author name in the thumbnail on Amazon.com.
I had a boss one time that used to say “it’s all about marketing.” We were selling custom computer services to mid-size companies and she was all about the sizzle. She convinced the customer that we could do the job by presenting a bold, professional image.
You need to do the same thing with your covers. SIZZLE. Be different. Do something that jumps off the shelf. Don’t hide in the stack of books; figure out you own way to grab a customer’s attention.
Remember, we all judge a book by its cover.

If Clive Cussler had written Ugly Betty, it would be Hacker for Hire. 

Hacker for Hire, a suspense novel about corporate greed and industrial espionage, is the second book in a series about Latino computer security analyst Ted Higuera and his best friend, para-legal Chris Hardwick. 

The goofy, off-beat Ted Higuera, son of Mexican immigrants, grew up in East LA. An unlikely football scholarship brought him to Seattle. 

Chris, Ted’s college roommate, grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth. His father is the head of one of Seattle’s most prestigious law firms. 

Ted’s first job out of college leads him into the world of organized crime where he faces a brutal beating. After being rescued by beautiful private investigator Catrina Flaherty, Ted decides to go to work for her. 

Catrina is hired by a large computer corporation to find a leak in their corporate boardroom when the previous consultant is found floating in Elliot Bay. 

Ted discovers that Chris’s firm has been retained by their prime suspect. Now he and Chris are working opposite sides of the same case. 

Ted and Catrina are led deep into Seattle’s Hi-Tech world as they stalk the killer. But the killer is also hunting them. Can Ted find the killer before the killer finds him? 
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery, Thriller
Rating – R
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