As important as it is to write the best book possible (quality will lead to word-of-mouth sales), the book may never leave the bookstore shelf if the cover doesn’t grab the reader’s eye. Bottom line,

As important as it is to write the best book possible (quality will lead to word-of-mouth sales), the book may never leave the bookstore shelf if the cover doesn’t grab the reader’s eye. Bottom line, what your book cover looks like is probably the most important aspect of the entire book design and marketing process.

In designing your book cover, remember, “Less is more.” A simple straightforward concept on the cover will do more than complicated designs and fancy artwork. If the cover doesn’t grab the readers’ eyes and make them curious about your book within a couple of seconds, the sale is lost.

Here are a few tips to make sure your book cover is as visually effective as possible.

Study Similar Book Covers:

Go to your local bookstore (you can look at books online as well but you do not get as immediate an effect nor see books next to each other). Look at books in the same category as yours, whether it’s romance novels, cookbooks, self-help, or fishing. When you go to the section of the store where someday your book will be, what’s the first cover that grabs your eye? Why that cover? Is it the color, the people or scenery on the cover, the boldness of the title? What makes the cover stand out compared to the other covers? Look at what you consider the best cover(s) and also the worst covers. What makes you judge a book by its cover the way you do?

Colors:

Think about the psychological effect of the colors you will use on your cover. If you’re writing a book on meditation, you probably don’t want a black or red cover because those colors traditionally suggest danger, fear, guilt, death, or anger. White or blue-colors that are more soothing and peaceful, are probably more appropriate. Again look at other books in the same category and consider the colors they use. How do you want people to feel about your book’s content? What color makes you feel that way?

As an interesting side note, in the 1980s when Helen Hooven Santmyer’s bestseller “…And Ladies of the Club” was published, the publisher printed four different covers. Each book had the same artwork, but the book came out in different colors-pink, yellow, green, and blue. I’m sure the multiple colors resulted in more sales because the blue cover appealed to people who might not have paid attention to the yellow one. I remember seeing all four versions beside each other in the department store on a center aisle table. It was hard not to pay attention.

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