Does a Cover really matter these days?

Most people buy online after all . . . 

Cover design is one of the most important elements that you should focus on when publishing a book. As an author, you want to choose a publisher your trust to handle your cover appropriately and hopefully one that lets you have a voice in the process. The cover can, and often does, make or break a book’s success.

We all do it . . . I can think of a dozen books I have bought in the past couple of months based on the cover alone. And as a publisher we also receive plenty of bad examples of cover art as well . . . awful in some cases. A good book cover is not rocket science, but for some reason people often miss the boat. Here are some quick tips:

1. Choose a cover image that personifies your text. If your text could be summed up best with one image, what would it be? Use that image as your cover.

2. Design for online. Think about how your book will look as a small digital file on websites. For most authors of most books, this is where you will sell the majority of your titles. Make sure it is easy to read and the image is simple enough to show up clearly.

(Books from bookcoverarchive.com)

3. Color is key. Make sure that the colors as well as the image and font convey the right message for your book. A hard-hitting exegetical study on Hebrews is not served well with a baby blue cover and fancy script.

4. The price of pricing. I advise our authors to leave the price off the book cover these days, going against the wisdom that has been taken for granted for years. Prices are too easy to adjust and tweak in the modern era, and you don’t want to produce a new cover every time you drop the price a buck.

5. Be involved. Get involved with your cover. Its your book, its your baby, and it will be your business. At Lucid Books, our authors set the tone for the designer directly with a Cover Design Worksheet and then have access to the designer from there.

6. Don’t be too involved. Authors write and create with words. Publishers sell books. Designers create beautiful book covers. There comes a point in every design where the author must make a choice: is the purpose of the book design to be exactly as you imagined, or is it to communicate your message to more people.

7. Get a backbone. Don’t forget the spine. Include author name, title, and publisher logo. Remember that if your book is going to be on shelves, spine design is often the only chance you will get to grab attention. (Helpful bonus hint: Look at your section in the bookstore where your book will be placed. What color, font, and design would “pop” well against the other spines that will be around you?)

We all judge a book by its cover, so make sure that your cover is designed to succeed.