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Why You Need to Judge Your Book By Its Cover

Posted on August 29, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Despite the old adage, you can judge a book by its cover, and when it comes to self-publishing your own book, you should. Readers looking for a new book aren’t going to take the time to read every single book description on Amazon, so you need to have some sort of visual hook to get their attention and draw them in. Here’s how you can make sure your book cover is as effective as it can be so you can hook your readers with one glance.


Pay for a professional cover


This isn’t a popular piece of advice to those on a budget, but it’s a practical one. A skilled designer knows what catches the eye, which fonts look best, and what size your text should be for maximum impact. Unless you are really skilled with graphic design, this should be your first choice method of getting a killer cover.


DIY the smart way


If you have to make your own cover, be sure it looks at least semi-professional. If you don’t have professional photo editing software like Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator, there are free online options you can use.


Make sure that the images you use on your book cover are suitable. This means that you must have the proper usage rights or license to use the book for digital or print media, if you want to create a paperback version. Most stock photography sites have a variety of licenses that vary in cost, so be sure to read the fine print before purchasing them.


The safest bet is to take your own photographs or use photographs that are free to use without copyright restriction, such as those in the Creative Commons. You can edit these to make them look different so there’s no worry about lots of people using the same photograph.


Use color to catch attention


Look on Amazon at the various books in the best-seller list. There’s a good chance that all of them use color in some way to draw in your eyes. Whether it’s using a single color against a dark background or filling the cover with lots of colors, notice that contrasting colors get your attention.


Remember that people are only going to see a tiny thumbnail-size image of your cover when they’re searching through the thousands of other books in your category, and if they’re browsing on their mobile phones they’ll see a really small cover. Complicated designs may look good on a full screen, but they just may get lost in translation when they’re in a sea of other covers.


Stand out, don’t look cheesy


Obvious stock photos, poorly drawn illustrations, and literal interpretation of your book’s title or storyline can be turnoffs for potential readers. Instead, opt for subtlety and simplicity. A cover that is mysterious and charming is better than one that shouts desperately from the screen.


Make sure your cover fits the genre


Just because you love an image of a creepy old house on a hill, it doesn’t mean that it’s a good fit for a romance novel. Make sure the cover gives a sense of what the book is about so you don’t turn off your readers by misrepresenting the book’s contents.


Make sure you follow Amazon guidelines


Amazon is clear about what they will and won’t allow on their book covers. Read their guidelines and follow them to make sure your cover isn’t rejected. Also, make sure your cover meets the size requirements for ebook covers.


Your book may get a few seconds of time to make an impression on potential readers, if you’re lucky. Give your book its best chance at being read by giving it an impressive cover that won’t be overlooked or ignored.


Categories: Book Marketing Articles