Wednesday, February 28, 2018

51- Book Covers

Listen to the companion podcast episode.


Audible audiobook borrowing program

Great on Kindle program
The Terry Goodkind book cover controversy.

About Book Covers:

The cover is a marketing tool.

It serves to:
-Entice the readers.
-Convey the genre.
-Convey the general tone of the book.
-Bring to mind the works of other favorite authors/books in the genre.

The cover:
-Serves a similar purpose as a movie poster.
-Is also is a bit like a movie trailer. (Sometimes there are elements in the trailer that aren't in the movie.)

Authors and Book Covers:
-Authors are usually bad at cover design.
-Authors are often more concerned with "reflecting the contents of the book" than marketing to readers in the genre.
-Authors often want too many elements included in the cover.
-Authors tend to worry too much about minor differences in cover elements and the descriptions/settings/scenes in a book.

Trad pub authors:
-Ultimately, the publisher makes the decision.
-Sometimes they accept suggestions from the author. Usually they listen then immediately forget.
-Typically, the author is contractually entitled to a consult about the cover, but the publisher still makes its own decision.
-On rare occasion, an author has been able to suggest a particular artist, design, or complete cover. I know of one instance in which the author made his own cover because the publisher dropped the ball.  In another instance, an author submitted a cover to the publisher and they hired someone to make something almost exactly like it.

The Indie Paradox ("Help! I don't have an art department!") 

-An indie must make her/his own decision about the cover.
-One option is to hire the same cover designer that other successful indies in your genre uses
-Another option is  to emulate the cover designs of successful indies in your genre.
-Don't dream up a design and then search Amazon for a cover that looks like your idea as a way of rationalizing it. Make sure the book is selling and the cover appears to be a part of it.
-Really study the genre. Know what designs would place you in the middle.
-Sometimes an author's name is enough to sell the book in spite of the cover.
-Browse cover design websites. Find pros whom you can afford.
-Just because someone is a graphic designer doesn't mean (s)he knows what makes a book sell. Help them. Guide them.
-Don't be afraid to experiment. Try different designs.
-Test designs through Facebook ads.
-Try not to end up on Lousy Book Covers :)

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