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A great cover is like a great outfit for your book. And like a great outfit, the cover should look good close up as well as far away. It is also the first thing a potential reader will judge you on. In a sea of titles, a quality cover will stand out and speak to your reader about the wonderful story within. At Digital Book World, shares her tips for self-publishing authors on how to have a great cover.
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How to Prepare for Self-Publishing: Cover Design
Good cover design is the single most obvious way of making sure your book stands out on the shelf and looks professional.
Do Your Research
Look at your competition, both in hard copy and online. What looks professional and what looks bad? Why? Make your own list of some pitfalls to avoid and features that you like.
Think About the Ebook Version
It’s important to remember that something that works well in hard copy might not look so good as a thumbnail. A great design, though, should work in both formats.
A detailed background and delicate colors can get swallowed up at thumbnail size. That doesn’t mean you can’t use them at all, but you need to make sure that the overall design still works on a small scale.
What Type of Book Is It?
One piece of advice that I’ve heard over and over again is to make sure your cover design correctly conveys the genre of your book. You might not want your work to be pigeonholed, and you probably want it to look different from the competition, but you need to put those feelings to one side. Readers use some basic visual cues to decide whether they think they’ll enjoy your book or not. Embrace a healthy dash of cliché. If you’ve written a romance, the cover needs to say “Romance” loud and clear so that your intended readership will pick it up and have a look at the blurb.
This aspect of cover design has a big impact on completion rates. If people think they’re getting a cozy mystery and it turns out to be gory dystopian sci-fi, they’ll put the book down without reaching the end. They might only read the first chapter. If you’re publishing an ebook, this kind of thing can be tracked, and makes your book look poor when it might be a fantastic dystopian sci-fi novel! You might even get bad reviews if the content doesn’t match readers’ expectations.
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