How to design an attractive book cover that will successfully sell your book in a book store or on Amazon
Jonathan Gunson talks about what makes a great book cover at the link below to Bestseller Labs. Learn at the link!
Book covers are much on my mind today as my graphic designer (Kit at KitFosterDesign.com) and I make the final tweaks to Episodes 1 - 5 and the Season 1 covers for This Plague of Days. There will be a different cover for the print version, as well. (Still super secret and amazingly ambitious, but if anyone can pull it off, Kit can.)
Some graphic deisgners welcome less back and forth on covers. Kit isn't happy until I am, so the covers always arrive at a good place. I don't know how Kit does what he does. His art is amazing and he's a multiple award-winner. I trust his skills and sensibility to guide me toward creating covers that grab eyeballs.
I know what I look for in a good cover:
1. It has to pop at thumbnail size as well as full-screen.
2. Contrast. Too many covers out there are tough to read.
3. Author branding. The author's name goes big because there are many titles but the author brand remains as an identifiable anchor to all the books. Ultimately, I want readers to be searching for my name rather than titles. That way, the fans of what I do buy all my stuff.
4. Clean typography that reflects the nature of the work. (If you've just written the great American novel, you probably don't want Comic Sans for a font on your cover.)
5. I want my covers to convey something about the book without trying to tell the whole story on the cover.
For the Hit Man Series, for instance, the covers have the look of the James Bond cover makeovers from the eighties with a saucy tagline that tells you it's going to be serious fun. My Cuban assassin, Jesus Diaz, is no James Bond, but he falls in love too easily and my heroines are worhth the long drop into doom. (Adding taglines from the 10 commandments was Kit's brilliant idea. Great tweak!) At a glance, readers have an idea what they're in for and with titles like Bigger Than Jesus and Higher Than Jesus, I had to give them a heavy clue they're crime novels.
Jonathan Gunson touches on this issue in the link, too, and it's crucial. Readers judge books by their covers and the covers for This Plague of Days convey isolation, desolation and civilization's collapse. This serial is a serious story about an autistic boy and his family fighting for survival in the face of plagues of zombies that's taking over the world. When I reveal the covers (soon!) you'll get instantly that there's plenty of trouble and a journey ahead. The title elements, blurb, tagline, art, typography and color all say something about what This Plague of Days is about. (There's even a hint at a big secret that isn't divulged until a long way down the road.)
The mood, colour and look of the cover for the first episode actually reminds me of a Neil Gaiman book. That's what we all crave: unique, eye-catching images that evoke the happy familiar and draw readers of similiar books in the genre. Kit's working on finalizing the covers as I write these words and I can't wait to see what he comes up with.
Big stories and great covers build exciting times!