The old adage “Don’t Judge a Book by It’s Cover” is not always correct. Some book covers are well designed that you want to buy the book. Then you read it, and it’s not all that good. Or you hear a great review of a book and the cover is all wrong for it. However, the book is a great read. Then you have those few times where the book matches the story and the plot. That’s your goal when you design a book.
We fall into the trap of knowing our book so well that the cover we choose is not necessarily good for the public. We like it because we are invested in the story. When your reader sees your cover, and they don’t understand what it means, you lost a sale.
You can spend hundreds of dollars on a state of the art book cover and not get a single sale. Or you spend two hours making it yourself and it awesome. The truth of the matter is that no matter what you spend or how much you invest in it, the book cover has to match the story and the plot. Or you’re spending money and resources you could have put somewhere else.
Admit it, you have been tempted to buy a book with great graphics, and you read it, and you’re disappointed. Your readers will go through the same thing. Sometimes you see a great cover, and the book is even better. That’s your goal with your book cover. Get your reader to want to open in.
When you go through the process of picking your cover design, choose at least 3 different images or image sets, three different formats and ask people who do not know what the story is (not family or other writers, people who would read your book) and do a blind survey. You see what people have to say about the cover and go from there.
Ask questions to find out if they:
- Are interested in the cover?
- How does the cover make them feel?
- Does the cover show the genre?
- Would they reach for it if they saw it laying down?
- If they saw the image online would they click on it?
Also, ask some follow-up questions:
- What would make you interested in the cover?
- How can I make if feel different?
- What distracted you from buying?
- Why wouldn’t you click on the image?
- What did you not like about it?
Always be open to suggestions. Don’t defend your work. If it's not interesting, it's not attractive. You don’t have to explain it. The point is that you don’t need to. The cover has to speak volumes.