Yes, People Judge Books By Their Covers
You know the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?”
While it may apply to human relationships as a metaphorical statement, it most certainly does not when we’re talking independent publishing and attracting a readership. No matter how engaging the contents, most readers won’t look twice unless intrigued enough by the cover graphics to want to peek inside.
But what are the elements of a successful front (and back) cover?
- A Compelling Title – the title of your book matters. It should be something that not only piques interest but offers a glimpse into what the reader can expect. Whether fiction or nonfiction, this “teaser” should lure your audience into willingly giving up potentially several hours of their time to read what you’ve written. If appropriate, add a subtitle for further clarification.
- Design Simplicity – in working with professional designers over the past several years, I have learned that “less is more” when it comes to book covers. Choose one or two graphics that make a statement about your contents and keep the font attractive, relevant, and easy-to-read.
- Back Cover – when I published my book in 2008 I discovered that most people were just as interested in me, the author, as they were in my novel. Therefore, a short (no more than four lines) but informative bio, along with a concise synopsis, should appear on your back cover. Have an endorsement or two, along with some book reviews? Include those here also. If you are publishing a hard cover edition, the jacket flap is the perfect place for these.
- Spine – much like the cover design, simplicity is the utmost here. It should be readable sideways and include whenever possible, your logo or a key design element. For example, in Steps To Salvation author Shlomo Attia’s symbol for “The One God Religion” appears on the book spine for a greater effect.
Don’t shortchange yourself or your manuscript. We know how much time and energy it takes to write a book and we want you to succeed in the competitive world of independent publishing. Aside from hiring a professional editor, adding a polished, professionally produced cover is critical. If you’re not a designer, we highly recommend hiring one. In fact, we’re so committed to this philosophy we’ve included cover design in our publishing packages. Our designers will work closely with you to produce a cover worthy of your efforts and if you prefer, we can facilitate that process on your behalf.
Note: Cover design by Kia Heavey on both covers featured in this post.
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