You may have an exceptional story, an exciting plot, lovable characters and a great ending, but all of these can be for naught if you fail at one thing – catching the reader’s attention through your book cover.
It depends on how you see it – fortunately or unfortunately- but your cover is your book’s initial selling point. Remember the two second rule? You only have two seconds to catch a reader’s interest once your book is displayed in bookstores. This is marketing and yes, hard as it may be for most authors, you have to take this into consideration too; otherwise you won’t be making any book sales.
The cover needs to entice your reader to pick up your book from the shelf, read through the blurb, skim through the pages and eventually take it to the cash register. While book covers don’t necessarily guarantee good writing, books get judged through their covers. Cliché’, but it is what it is.
Additionally, Authors get judged by their covers. What do you want readers to think about you? Your book cover is a representation of your taste, class and character. Although it is a fact that authors who publish traditionally often have no say in their book covers, independent authors however do. This is the beauty of self-publishing, as an Author, you have the freedom to let your personality shine through with your book. It is one of the perfect ways to get your brand out there. The Butterfly Memoirs bestselling author M.J. Kane uses butterflies in all of her covers, usually to represent the female character. It’s her trademark and you can even see her wearing a butterfly ring on her social media profiles. Historical Romance bestseller Johanna Lindsey, although traditionally published, used male model Fabio on her covers. I remember scanning through tons of books in huge bookstores back in Junior year and immediately zeroing in on Johanna’s just by seeing Fabio on the cover. Today, Johanna’s books no longer have Fabio’s face gracing their covers, but the fonts used on her name and the book title are still the same. Consistency is the key.
In deciding on your book cover design, put yourself in your target readers’ shoes. Would you take a second look at that book among all the other books displayed on the bookstore shelf? Does the cover convey the book’s message? Is it professionally done? Does it match your personality, taste and character as a reader? Does it look like it is something that you can relate to or would interest you?
Make your book cover stand out and put in as much effort as you did in writing your manuscript because, the reality is that book covers are just as important as the quality of your writing.