There is an old Chinese Proverb that goes:
“On a journey of a hundred miles, ninety is but halfway.”
It’s like writing your book. Just when you thought you’re done, you’re stumped to find out that you forgot to get your book a cover.
A book cover is essential to your book.
All authors – amateurs and veterans alike – get their book a cover, how simple it may be. (These days, simple and clutterless works best.)
A sentence that doesn’t end with a period is not a sentence, is it?
To complete your book writing process, get your book a cover.
To let it stand out and sell, dress it up with a cover that has that “X” factor.
So… what exactly is a book cover?
What can it do for your book?
What is it supposed to do?
From an aesthetic point of view, it is eye candy to your readers. It strikes and captivates them to pick up your book, browse through, add to cart, and buy.
It gives your book a unique personality or distinct character. All its own.
In a practical sense, your book cover adds a protective layer to your book. It safeguards your book from the elements and extends its lifespan.
From a marketing standpoint, it is a powerful tool to promote and sell your book.
A book cover has three main functions:
Whose attention? Your target readers’.Your book cover should turn heads and grab attention.
It flaunts and flirts with its target readers, to describe it in a fun way.
It charms, warms and disarms.
It is not only different but unique, special and electrifying.
It speaks for you 24/7/365.
It works hard, untiringly and relentlessly.
In a vast ocean of books, it tries its darnedest to stand out from the pack.
As the book author, it is your task then to cloak your book with a captivating cover.
After grabbing your target readers’ attention, your book cover must hook them in, lock them up, and take full control. In a psychological way, of course.
Arouse curiosity. Stimulate their senses. Create excitement. Heighten their cravings.
At this stage, your target readers are flooded with questions such as:
This questioning takes place in a flash. Effortlessly. Unconsciously. Subconsciously.
If your book cover does an awesome job, capturing your reader happens seamlessly.
Now that you’ve whet their appetite, your target audience will want to satisfy their curiosity, ease their excitement, and get their questions answered.
They’re nearing the finish line.
Soon, they grab their debit or credit card, click the “buy button” and complete the sale.
A sale just happened. That’s it. Mission accomplished!
What do you think of this post?
Does it resonate with you either as target reader or book author?
What do you look for in a cover?
What captivates your eyes, captures your attention, and compels you to buy when shopping at bookstores online or offline?
Please comment below and let us know experience.
When you look at book covers, what usually strikes you? Almost always, it’s the dominant elements – the title, author’s name and image.
These are the obvious or most apparent elements – elements that you easily recognize.
However, book covers are more complicated than that and graphic artists would tell you that there is more in there than meets the eye.
Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. ~ Antoine de Saint Exupéry, The Little Prince (1943)
They work at the background, are subtle, almost invisible, and can, at times, be subliminal. They play with your mind as viewer and influence how you feel, think, decide or act in ways like:
Insane, isn’t it? But that’s true. And it always happens at both the conscious and subconscious planes.
What is in your book cover that creates these kinds of behavior?
Let’s take a peek into what makes book covers stand out.
What do great book covers have that set it apart from the rest? You’ll get a ton of responses on this and here’s my take.
A standout book cover has four attributes:
It grabs attention almost instantaneously. I can use an endless stream of powerful words to describe it: dazzling, captivating, charming, attractive, handsome, beautiful, stunning, striking, entrancing, professional, wow, dynamite, lovable, cute, delicious, delightful, pleasing, magnetizing, elegant, hypnotic, inviting, great, awesome, wonderful, engaging. And on and on
How the book cover elements were used or put together effectively contributes to engendering a positive feeling of excitement, curiosity and/or desire in your target reader. They may not even know it. They simply feel it.
It is simple, uncomplicated and spot on. It is devoid of clutter that may repel, mislead or confuse readers and take them away from the real message, theme or content of your book.
You would see book covers that only have type or words in them, nothing else.
It is different, uncommon and special. No other book cover has that “X” factor or quality.
In an ocean of romance novels or non-fiction books on productivity, yours is undoubtedly a standout.
It is crystal clear what your book is all about simply by looking at its cover. It mirrors and/or hints at your book’s content, theme, genre or topic. At thumbnail size, your book cover is easily recognizable; its text – title and author, most especially – is highly readable.
The apparent or obvious elements of book covers are mostly these three:
The title is the name of your book. It is usually the dominant element of your book cover (although in many instances, the author’s name is). Many titles, most especially non-fiction, are straightforward. You get what the book is all about as soon as you read its title. It may be one, two, three or more words whose meaning may have to be deciphered.
Book titles are important and necessary. Your book has to have one. The subtitle, however, is not compulsory but optional. You may or may not have one.
What’s the value of having a subtitle? Your subtitle puts more meat on your title. It defines the slant of your book, explains its content further and provides more details. This is especially most helpful if you have a book title containing a word or two.
For instance, how would target readers know what your book “Hurry” is all about? If it’s fiction, your choice of image would most probably reveal more about it. For non-fiction, it may be more daunting and can be confusing. Attaching a subtitle that says “How to Do Things More Quickly in Your Own Terms and Succeed at What You Do” would most probably help clarify your book’s content.
This is the name of the book writer or, in some instances, the publisher. As an author, you may use your real name or choose a literary pen name, fictitious name or pseudonym.
This may be a picture, image or symbol that would depict your book’s content or provide a clue or hint. It may be a single image or symbol, a collection or collage of images, or a composite image.
A composite image is what you get after combining various visual elements from separate sources to get a desired effect or picture. Graphic artists achieve this through compositing (with the use of photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop) to create the illusion that all those elements belong to or are parts of the same scene.
So we’re done with the obvious elements.
Now, make a guess on the subtle elements of book covers. They are those that you may not even know or suspect exist but are positioned or placed there for some reasons. The impact that they create is more psychological or at the level of the unconscious or subconscious.
I can think of four:
What do you think?