Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Book Covers that Sell

Everyone is familiar with with the old adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover," yet most people do it anyway. We can't help it.  It's human nature.

Therefore, if you're a self-published author and you want to sell your book, you must have a good, effective cover.  It is the first point of contact that readers have with your work.

What makes an effective book cover?
  • The cover must look professional.  If it looks sloppily put together or "homemade," readers will assume that the content is similar.  
  • The cover must fit its genre, but the same time, it must stand out from the crowd.  This is one of the trickiest aspects. Wanting your book to look like other big sellers in your genre is natural, but nobody ever became truly successful by imitating other people. Your book cover should fit the genre but be as original as possible so that it attracts attention and readers want to click on it to find out more.
  • The cover must not be too "busy" or detailed. Many authors make the mistake of trying to tell the entire story with the book cover. If you try to do that, you'll end up with nothing but a confusing mess. The "less is more" rule definitely applies to book cover design. A similar mistake is wanting any people shown on the cover to look exactly like the characters in your novel. This is not important - your book cover's main job is to attract attention and provide readers with a "flavor" of your book.
  • The cover must look good, with the title legible, at larger thumbnail sizes (about 80x120 pixels on Amazon, for example).  This is crucial. If it merely looks like an indistinct smudge, readers are very likely to pass it over.
Of course, effective book cover design is part art and part craft. At the end of the day, you have to use your instincts and go with what you think will best sell your book, and you will often end up testing several covers before you find the one that works best.

How can you have your cover designed? Although its possible to do it yourself, unless you have some experience in book cover design, what you'll end up with will probably look amateurish, even though it may not look that way to yourself.  Therefore, I would recommend hiring a professional designer.

I offer this service to other authors by working with the same graphic designer who creates my own covers, and my rates are competitive.  If you're interested, please contact me at mike (at) mikewellsbooks.com and tell me about your book.

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