The design for a book cover — for your book cover — is the big decision that needs to be made correctly. Your book’s cover is the first thing your potential book buyers see. First impressions ARE the greatest.
Will people become more interested in your book or turned off, wandering elsewhere to buy someone else’s book?
This is no game. Your book —your message — is too important to have a book cover that doesn’t do its job for you.
It can be said that the design for a book con er is the most important part of your book because it’s the first message your audience receives from you.
Ideas for book covers can be endless. But there are so many design aspects to consider:
What primary color should I use for my book cover? Which font is best for book covers? What font size is best?
How to find a book cover designer?
Are cover designers for books different from magazine designers?
How to make book covers?
The list goes on. What’s important to know is that cover design is not as simple as creating a pretty cover from any graphic artist. It requires a deep understanding of book marketing, survey technology, an awareness of market trends, knowledge of the needs and wants of the target audience, how colors affect people, and more.
So ideas for books can’t come from whim, emotion or guesswork. You can’t even copy other successful books. Why? Because every book is different in whom their potential book buyers are, for one thing. Ideas for books have to come from intelligence, facts, known qualities of the audience, statistical data, deliberate research and analysis. These things are more important than what you or I might like to see on a book’s cover.
This question should be asked from a design perspective, not a DIY standpoint. Unless you know the things mentioned above, it’s self-sabotage to try to make book covers for your book by yourself.
In order to know how to make book covers, not the designer side of it but rather the book marketing side, it would take years to learn how. It’s the business side of book covers that matter.
The best way to make book covers is by finding a qualified graphic artist who knows book marketing inside and out. You would be hard pressed in finding this kind of individual.
Finding two experts — one in cover design, the other in book marketing — and you you’ve got what it takes to answer the challenge of how to make book covers.
Though you are not going to be the one making your book cover, understanding a few crucial book cover design how to’s. For one thing, it’s important to understand how people look at things, especially book covers.
When glancing at something for the first time, people do not read in a linear fashion, line by line. Humans seek to make a lightning fast decision on whether they should spend more time with what they’re viewing or move on to something else.
We at Writer Services, LLC have coined the word “cognitive interest” to communicate this factor when using book cover design how to knowledge in our design process.
One’s eye doesn’t move along a steady flowing line of text. The eye jumps around (saccades), and when they find a key words and graphic that interests them, they stop to absorb what’s there. This process tells us, as quickly as possible, what we are looking at. The stop points where one stops and focuses onto something are called fixations.
The Z Pattern
People have a tendency to follow a Z pattern:
• From left to right
• down to lower left
• and again left to right.
This is, for reasons of observation and where and how to place words and graphics on a book cover, very valuable to know.
We use fonts for book covers, but most authors have never been given a good definition of the word font or other type terms are not well understood.
Let’s first clear up the confusion about font and typeface. If you look at most dictionaries, you’ll find that font means typeface and vise versa. And here’s why…
Years ago, when printing presses and metal plates were used, typefaces and fonts were two separate things.
Typeface was the specific design of letters, numbers and characters. Font represented
the size or style of a typeface.
Font and Typeface
Today, font and typeface have become interchangeable — one and the same.
For simplicity sake, let’s use “font” moving forward. So a font is a set or family of letters, numbers and symbols. Here are a few different fonts:
We have choices of how we can manipulate a font with things like: size and style, like roman, italic, oblique, boldface, etc., that make a font more unique and desirable for
Font size is indicated in vertical “points”. A point is 1/72 of an inch. For example, a 12-point font take sup 1/6 of an inch vertically.
The style of fonts has to do with things like: bold, ALL CAPS, italics, SMALL CAPS and Start Case (Where The First Letter Of Each Word Is Capitalized).
The type of fonts for book covers should be easy to read at a distance. This ensures that your book cover, as a small image (called a thumbnail image) will still be readable at on-line bookstores like amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.
You can read up more about typography and fonts for book covers for your book at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) here:
Also, a very good book on fonts, typeface, etc. is: The Elements of Typography Style.
Now that you know what it takes to make book covers, choosing a cover designer is your next step.
What should you look for in a cover designer?
A cover designer should have extensive experience in designing book covers. Don’t be misled by someone with experience in magazines or other types of designers. Like with book editors and all editors not being trained the same, so too are book cover designers the only kind of designer you should seek for your book cover. It’s always about the nuances; the things you can’t quite point out but just know you’re looking at a professional book cover. This whispers “I’m a true pro” as an author to your audience.
There are thaousands of cover designers. It would only make sense that most would have their own websites. This is good news for you because you can see some of their work!
But do you know what to look for in their cover samples? How do you know you’re looking at designs that help to sell books? Like with anything we’re not seasoned experts in, just about any cover looks great to the untrained eye.
It’s not until we become aficionados do we begin to dissect something with a quick glance, split hairs with regard to degrees of perfection. So it does be one challenging to find a book cover designer who can do your book justice.
After all, you likely spent A LOT of time and energy writing your book. You put your heart and soul into every chapter, every paragraph, every single line. To burn your chances for succeeding with your book on an average or poor cover design is just not something worth gambling with.
If you find that book cover designers are hard too find, wait until you try to find someone who knows book marketing. Book experts are a rare commodity. But find one you must, if you want a book cover that:
• catches the attention of your audience • draws them in
• causes them to pick your book up (or click on it)
• turn it over
• read the compelling copy on the back
• and open your book to the Table of Contents.
Like I said, a book cover design is not as simple as making a pretty cover!
Still, it’s good to know certain things you need to decide upon, like design of book cover, cover colors, font for book covers, and other aspects to cover design that help in choosing a book cover for someone to design for you.
The design of YOUR book cover, specifically, will need to possess the following qualities mentioned in the partial list above. Your book cover should also:
• make people feel some particular emotion
• think of a certain concept
• realize something about your book
• understand what your book is about.
You can definitely start to see how “a nice cover” will not do you’re book justice.
Figuring out HOW to produce these effects on your audience is where book marketing savvy strongly comes into play.
Giving guidelines can be dangerous because it implies the steps you should take for your cover on your own. But would you try to pull your own tooth or operate on yourself? Of course not. Just the same, you shouldn’t try to be the sole person in charge of your cover design.
The following guidelines are for you to have some understanding of the desirable outcomes of your book’s cover. This way, you can have intelligent conversations with your cover designer and book marketing expert.
Choosing a Book Cover
Choosing a book cover for your book can be a daunting task, especially since it is a crucial aspect to your book’s success. The best recommendation I can give you is to have your cover designer and book marketing expert design 2 or 3 cover design samples. Then show them to your social media friends, colleagues…, as many people as you can, getting their feedback of which one they like the most, and why.
This will help with the final decision on choosing a book cover for your book.
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