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Covers: We All Judge Them

8 November, 2016 publishing tips 0

The age-old aphorism of not judging a book by its cover can now be laid to rest. Covers matter and you know this. We don’t need data to tell us that pouring judgement laden opinions on everything we encounter is part of the human condition. We can, however, learn a lot from that data.  If you plan to stand out in the ever flooding sea of self published authors, you need to be coherent, create suspense, be creative and, most importantly, make sure that shizzle looks good on paper.

This is why we have come up with a few suggestions to constructively lead you to greatness.

1. You Can’t Learn to Dance by Playing the Violin

Because authors are artists of the verbal varietal, they often think that artistic ability overlaps into other arenas. I am one of those people. I thought that throwing together a decent cover utilizing a free online app like Pixlr or Canva would save me both money and time. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a huge fan of both apps. In fact, I use them in my copy all the time. But when I need to do a big job, I call in the big guns. Because, just as you are a master of prose, conflict and climax, graphic designers are hip to the ins and outs of making covers that cast shadows rather than sit in them. So, stick to what you know. Trust us on this one. Spend the money to get a high quality design that won’t pixelate. You will thank us in the end.

2. Make’em Wait

I know, I know. I sound like my grandmother giving dating advice. Nonetheless, it is sound advice. All too often, in our attempt to find coherence in the story of an image and the story within the pages of our book, we end up revealing the best parts of our book. Don’t let your cover be a spoiler. The cover of your book is a clear artistic embodiment of your masterpiece. It should then be representative of its contents, without showing all the goods.

3. Don’t Be a Lamb

While, BookSmugglers Cover Survey has clearly shown that readers do not necessarily “equate a book with a similar cover to a book they have previously read and enjoyed,” they do, however, show that this apparently seems to help sales. And that is cool, if you are sheepish and want to follow the flock. I will, however, bet you a dollar that you remember the covers of your favorite books. I will also wager that they have nothing to do with last month’s best selling copycat cover. Create a cover that will become as iconic as its content.

4. Be Coherent

The cover of your book is a clear artistic embodiment of your masterpiece. It should then, be representative of its contents. If your story is about a princess-warrior from Thailand, make sure your princess looks Thai. Whitewashing your cover is the number one way to receive public backlash. Just ask Justine Larbalestier about her book Liar. After public outcry, she changed her cover from this to this. covers-matter

Of course advice is always to be taken with a grain of salt. We don’t pretend to know everything here at Indipenit, which is why we invite you to share your knowledge and experience!

What kinds of lessons have you learned along the self-publishing path? How could they have been avoided?


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