There are two things an author must focus on aside from the writing part. While writing is super important, so is a great editor and an amazing cover. Today is all about the cover. You may not think this is important, but trust me it is. A bad cover can ruin a potential sale. In fact, it can ruin a lot of potential sales.
Think about it. What is the first thing you see as a reader?
The cover, right?
Whether you’re scrolling through thousands of books on Amazon? Or walking down the aisle at Barnes & Noble, what you’re focused on are all those covers. You’re looking for the ONE or if you’re like me, the several, cover(s) that are going to absolutely grab your attention.
Don’t believe me? How about an example then?
If you came across the three covers below, which book would you pick up?
Did you answer Hush, Hush?
Believe me now?
Now, if you’re an author reading this, you should know this. If you’re new to writing, take this as a lesson that a great cover is one thing you do not skimp on. This doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions.
Because here’s the thing. If you go the traditional route of publishing, you will have next to no say on your cover. You might get two options (at best) and the only difference will be the color. If you Indie (independently) or self-publish, then the only exception is IF you are a graphic artist/designer. Then you may design your own cover, BUT you have to, have to, have to GET a neutral third party opinion.
Do NOT think you know better. And if you aren’t a graphic artist/designer, this ABSOLUTELY applies to you.
Don’t believe me? How about some more show and tell then?
Below are the covers for my first book. (Yes, the title did change.) If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, then you know I’ve gone through some transitions. The first time, I put it out there, I did the cover myself with a little help from Createspace and it was a joke. The second time, I worked with a partnership publisher and just gave the cover artist my thoughts on what the cover should look like. Same thing the third time around. And the fourth, I hired a professional cover artist (thank you Molly!) and it came out perfect. All I did was tell her about something I liked that she had in a pre-made cover, a little about the story, and the main characters. The rest, she did.
So, I’ll ask again. Which book did you pick up?
You don’t have to tell me, I already know.
At this point, you may be asking yourself what makes a great cover? If you are, ask yourself the following questions.
- Is it eye-grabbing?
- Is it appropriate for the genre?
- Is it legible? Is the font too big? Blurry? Can you read the title clearly? Is the color off?
- Does it relate to your story?
- Does it stand out in the crowd? (Thousands upon thousands of books are released every day. What makes your story, your cover different?)
- Does it say when, where, why?
If you are confident that your cover screams all of the above, then do a poll. Don’t be afraid to ask the public (readers or even other authors) for their opinions.
I promise, you won’t be sorry that you did.