The parts of a book that go into marketing a work can be the most difficult for an author. Our hearts and souls, blood, sweat and tears went into the novel’s creation. Now we not only have to change gears, but read someone else’s mind… capture and interpret the thoughts of someone we’ve probably never met in person—our reader.
Besides the blurb, a good cover is critical. Do we want a simple title and author on a solid field of color, or a graphic that combines three elements into a single, coherent image.
As authors, we may need to sublimate our own desires to reflect the expectations of the genre or the demands of a publisher. Both of which contradict the naturally possessiveness we’ve acquired in the days, months, or even years of writing the book. Even if you are independently publishing the book and have hired an excellent design artist, knowledge of what works and doesn’t as a cover is useful information.
Reality Check – I’ve always been a firm believer in corollaries of the Peter Principle. Just as you cannot please every reader with a give book, no single book cover will entice every reader. You do your research, come up with a visually pleasing design that looks good in both full-size and thumbnail, then cross your fingers and pray you were correct.
Different writers have different preferences for where to get their design ideas. Some like to scan the top-selling books on sites such as Amazon. Another research venue are cover contests such as Preditors and Editors. Some contests group by genre, others take a snapshot of books submitted that week or month. Another place to see what covers are popular are review and reader sites. Or follow blogs that showcase covers or have cover reveals on a regular basis.
Hint – As an author you should already be a member of or at least familiar with several of the sites in your genre.
When you plan the book release events, be sure to incorporate places to show-off the cover. Imprisoned in Stone appeared in the Uncover Monday feature at Calissa Rhose’s Ranch. (Info on submitting your own cover can be found here.)