Design your book cover to attract attention

You can’t judge a book by a cover goes the old cliché, but the reality is that people literally do so all of the time. That’s why you’ll want to spend some time coming up with an attractive cover for your volume.

Simply put, a good, unique cover draws potential readers to your book. It fires their imagination of what the book is about – meaning it doesn’t tell them exactly what it’s about, just gets them excited about it. Hence the hunky guys on the cover of romance novels and buxom beauties or space battle scene on science fiction novels.

The cover’s goal literally is to get readers to pick up your book, read the synopsis about it on the backside, maybe page through it for a few minutes, and then take it to the checkout counter and purchase it!

When designing a cover, there are three parts you’ll need to think about:
• Front cover – A good front cover has interesting artwork that draws a potential reader’s attention, the book’s title (and usually its subtitle), and the author’s name. It also may include a quick blurb about why it’s such a great book and some note explaining who the author is (such as “Author of (title of last book she wrote).”
• Spine – This is the side of the book that we see when it’s placed in a bookcase. It typically includes the title, author’s name, publisher, and if fiction possibly the genre.
• Back cover – A blurb or synopsis about the book, aimed at getting readers to purchase it, usually tops the page. The ISBN with barcode and price typically appear in the lower right corner. The back cover also might possibly include an author’s bio with photo, publisher and a website to learn more about the author/book series.

You can use a self-publishing house’s templates to create a cover fairly quickly and inexpensively, but be forewarned that they all look much the same and are fairly unimaginative at that. In addition, a self-publishing house’s templates are a dead giveaway that you’ve got a self-published book, which for a number of readers – especially those in the media who might give your book some attention – means a “lower quality” book (though that perception is changing).

If you lack the talent to create your own cover, you’ll want to get a designer or artist to handle that part of your self-publishing project. It can get expensive, though, so be aware of this when budgeting for your book.

Granted, in today’s digital age, a book cover is not quite as important as days past when the only place to purchase a book was a brick and mortar store. Still, the cover – perhaps wrongly – tells the reader a lot about the pages in between. A poor cover hints at unprofessional writing and vice versa. So invest a little time working on the cover, even though you’re a writer; after all, you’re not a fashion designer but you still wouldn’t dress your child in rags during her first public outing!