This post, by Katie Salidas, originally appeared on her Written in Blood site on 5/2/11.
Let’s face it; people do judge a book by its cover. Book browsers will only give a book a few seconds glance. Good cover can draw potential readers in whereas a poorly designed cover, can send them screaming for the hills.
This is what drives many people to pay hundreds of dollars to do a cover for them. I’m not saying that’s wrong. Just please remember your budget.
Your cover should do three things: Advertise the book, showcase the author, and set the “feel” of the book.
That’s the first thing people are going to see when they look at your work. So it goes without saying, that you cover needs to really grab their attention. It needs to stand out among thousands of other books within its genre.
If you’re book catches their eye, it might get them to read the back cover, or product description (for online shopping). Beyond that, they may take a chance on a sample, or decide to buy the book right there. And that’s exactly what you want.
Remember this when thinking of cover design. It’s the most important visual sales tool you have, and worth spending a little extra time and a few extra dollars on. Cover art and editing are the two places where most of your budget will be spent (marketing being the remainder).
For most of us, cover art is something we will have to hire out for. We’re writers, that doesn’t mean we’re graphic artist. “Don’t quit your day job.” It’s okay to NOT be a graphic artist. If you don’t have the skills necessary to produce a professional-looking book cover, then you’ll need to get in touch with a freelance artist.