Go Ahead, Judge a Book by its Cover!

Posted in Book Design Matters

Readers judge a book by its cover. Your book may have great content, but without an attractive cover, your book has a much lower chance to sell. Your cover has to be designed to attract the attention of the buyer.

An easy solution if you’ve hit a proverbial creative “wall” is to visit your local bookstore (or not-so-local — try our online bookstore at fcbookstore.ca  or peruse amazon.com) for ideas. You can go one of two ways — replicate, or “be inspired by” current and popular titles — or try to get attention by being decidedly different. But do keep in mind that the “rules” and guidelines to cover design exist for a reason. The “best selling” book covers generally follow a few hard and fast rules.

The first is that they contain powerful, descriptive or intriguing words on the front cover. Enlarge the words you’d think would entice a potential buyer. For instance, Danielle Steele’s books generally sell because of her name. This is why her name is in a large typeface.

The second rule, which is a bit of a “secret weapon”, is not to forget the back cover. Don’t discount this potential, miniature marketing space. I’ve read that the average potential book buyer will make a purchasing decision within the first 15 seconds of viewing the back cover. I’ve not investigated the statistics for this, but I’m a great walking anecdote!

Keep your description on the back cover concise, and make sure that it piques the curiosity of the reader. Try to use short, descriptive sentences which evoke the feel of your book. If you’re writing a technical or self-help book, bullet points are a great tool to use. You don’t need to repeat the title of the book on the back cover — presumably, the reader is already aware of the title from reading the front.

Thirdly, know whom to contact should you require further assistance in your cover design. We have professional graphic designers here at First Choice who can meet your needs no matter where you are in the process. We also have a talent pool on our website — check it out for names of illustrators, designers and editors.

Make sure to check out my next article about cover design, which will cover the more technical aspects including typography, illustration, design and layout.

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