Monday 18 March 2013

Derek Doepker- Why Book Covers Are So Important

Why Book Covers Are So Important

by Derek Doepker 

As authors and perhaps self described “artists,” we often like to think people will judge our books by the quality of their content and not be so “shallow” as to judge a book by its cover.  But in a world filled with information overload, people will make snap decisions as to whether or not they want to buy your book by what little information they have.  And one of the biggest deciding factors on whether a book seems worth purchasing is the book cover.

Good looking book covers serve more than just to help increase sales however.  The book cover is perfect for creating a desired emotional state in your reader before they even read a word.  Research has shown the way food is presented before eating can affect how one perceives its taste.  I have no doubt book covers work in the same way to help create an emotional state in your readers preparing them for what they’re about to experience when they start to consume your book.

So what is it that makes a good book cover?  There are several factors to consider.  The first mistake I see people making, particularly among self-published kindle authors, are book covers that look “amateurish.”  My simple litmus test is “would I see this in an actual book store?”  If the answer is no, then right away that is a red flag that browsers may think that book seems unprofessional and avoid purchasing.

Another characteristic of good book covers is that the title is easy to read and grabs a browser’s attention.  Whether searching online or walking through a bookstore, a book must compete for attention with tens to hundreds of books that are surrounding it.  If the title and words are illegible from a distance, how many people may overlook the book simply because it didn’t catch their eye?

The font and color scheme can also make a critical difference as various colors and font styles each elicit their own emotional response.  Some people think that it’s just the image or words themselves that matter, but the most beautiful picture or intriguing title can be ruined with a font that doesn’t match the “vibe” of the book.  I see this all the time and it’s a dead giveaway that the author or graphic designer doesn’t understand this simple concept.

While a few authors may be tempted to settle for a book cover that’s “good enough,” this is a potentially costly mistake.  A poor cover can lead to a significant loss of sales and in the long run, cause an author to lose out of gaining new fans.

If you value your writing, then be sure to value how you package that writing.  You can’t control the fact that people judge by appearances, but you can certainly control how your book looks so that it is as captivating on the outside as it is on the inside.

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Genre – NonFiction

Rating – PG

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