Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tip O'Day #293 - Bad Covers Kill Good Books

Tom Isbell, author of Southern Cross, on book covers.

Cover design is important for pBooks as well as eBooks, but for slightly different reasons. Customers in a bookstore will be drawn to your book based on its front cover (or spine, depending how the book is displayed). They will read the back cover and maybe turn to the first chapter, all in a matter of seconds. That’s all the time you have to hook them.

Before deciding on the basic design for your cover (whether you do it or have it done professionally), take time to go to a local bookstore and look at the covers of books in your genre. The major publishing houses have spent a lot of money determining what cover designs sell books. It’s free advice, so take it.

The cover for an eBook is almost more important than one for a pBook; in most cases, the potential customer only sees a postage stamp sized picture of your wonderful cover. Keep it simple. Fancy fonts may not be legible when reduced and the cover art may end up looking like a dark blob. Play with ideas and reduce them to thumbnail size to see if they look good. Ask your critique group or other writing friends to evaluate your cover.

Check out Tom at his website or on Facebook.
Dixon says: I was fortunate to work with a professional, Suzanne Fyhrie Parrott of Unruly Guides, on my first published novel. After discussing The Assassins Club with me, she came up with 4-5 draft concepts. With my permission, they were posted on Facebook, enabling other authors and publishing pros to weigh in with their opinions. Their input gave me confidence that the eventual final cover was, in fact, the most effective choice.

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