“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” she said.
He said it, too.
They all said it.
And, it was bad advice.
The world will judge your book by its cover. You have no control over that.
But I’ve got you covered.
Consider this, we are a visual species. That’s why the web is so popular. It’s a visual tool. People log on to social to “see” something. I know there are millions who are not sighted, who operate from that handicap, and the tools they use give them their ‘visual’ clue with words. So, I am not generally speaking to them here. I am talking about the rest of us. If you’re in agreement, I recommend this visual training info presented by Canva, a tool many of us use to create our amazing graphic images online.
A book cover can make or break you.
Let’s talk about what makes a good book cover.
A. Color. Generally, you need to stick to colors that help define your message. If you have a website (I say ‘if’ only because I’ve met folks lately who don’t have a website – we can talk about that another time), I will expect that you have discussed color with your web designer. If your web designer is yourself, stop and have that discussion now. Colors mean something. Learn what they mean and apply that to both your web design and your book cover.
B. Content. Your cover has your title. Your subtitle. Your name. At the moment, we’re talking front cover. It’s what draws people to the book, whether the book is on a shelf at a bookstore or displayed on a page in Amazon, your website, or elsewhere. The title has to be catchy. Not kitschy.
The title font needs to be visible from 10 feet away. The title font needs to be readable from 10 feet away.
The subtitle needs to define the title. Often, the subtitle is what convinces folks to open the book and browse.
Your name should be spelled correctly. I know of an instance where a book was released by a traditional publisher, thousands of copies were printed, and the author’s name was misspelled. Who’s fault was it? You decide. I share that story a good bit because I want my authors to be bulldogs when it comes to their content. And, I don’t want them to forget the content on their book cover.
When I think of good book covers, good titles, I think of current writers like Stephen King, Caleb Carr, Ann Handley, Brenee Brown, and Erika Armstrong. Those, except for Ann Handley, are fiction writers and I am adamant that we non-fiction writers can learn a lot about our book development from fiction authors. Look at those books and digest the cover design.
C. The spine. Your book will have a spine, even if you don’t. Yes, that was an LOL. Your spine is of no interest to me. But, the spine of your book is another story. It’s an important element in cover design. We can go into the particulars if we work together. I merely want to mention it here, because sometimes, in the heat of the writing, we focus on our front cover, forgetting that the title and author and the publisher need to show up on the spine. (yes, I know, there are book options that don’t include a spine, but let’s learn about how to create a book spine for future reference)
D. Back cover. This is part of content. The back cover is as important as the spine. It displays your book subject and blurb, and testimonials. Once you understand that people in a book store who are drawn to your book (or at the grocery store, gosh, a lot of us buy books at the checkout counter these days!), will turn it over and read the back cover to determine if it’s really worth reading, immediately after they have (consciously or unconsciously) appreciated the front cover.
We talk about how to get the back cover content, well before the book is done, during our Your Publishing Pros webinars and workshops. And, of course, we do a deeper dive into all of this with our coaching clients.
My claim to fame, for the uninitiated, is a book that generated a lot of attention, in 2005. The title of the book was, Dickless Marketing. The subtitle was, Smart Marketing to Women Online. The content is woefully out of date now, but at the time, no one was talking about marketing to women, and I took that as a good indication my book would sell.
I didn’t know enough about marketing back then to turn it into an Amazon best seller, but I did know the content was useful and necessary. It launched my own publishing company, got me numerous speaking, and proved that a book really is a calling card.
Book as business card is a concept I believe in. As I write more about the process of creating your book, you will see this phrase a good bit. It’s because there is truth to it – business cards get lost or intentionally thrown away. Books? Not so much. Plus, a book truly demonstrates your expertise, your personality, and the story of you. If it’s done right.
I’m here to help you get it right.