A part of me says to,”Just do it!” I’ve followed that order through various cover problems. Don’t rush choosing your book cover because it will come back to haunt you.
In my article, Going On a Cover Hunt, I asked readers to tap the Image Wall tab on the top menu of my web site to check out the numerous covers for Body Wave. I thought I’d learned my lesson. I asked a cover artist to design the chosen one. I had asked for something not cartoony, but she knew the cozy mystery titles better than I. She made one cover based on her knowledge and offered me a second choice that I specifically requested. I chose her version. The following books will look the same, but the colors and titles will change. This is one way to brand a series.
For Swarmers, I picked a premade cover. I had quite a few writers tell me the cover looked YA. What I liked about it was the girl and the color. The artist also made the book title look like there were some bites taken out of it. So, I asked for the cover to be jazzed up for a more apocalyptic look, but asked to keep the girl. The result is the current cover. The book looks darker and doesn’t convey the YA appearance of the first version. I do believe I handicapped the cover artist by keeping the girl. I also believe that premade covers are a great deal if you understand the market, but may not be the best way to go if you’re clueless about graphic design.
My new book is a straight up contemporary thriller about a whistleblower. The tagline is: Not every whistleblower survives to tell their truth. She’s an ordinary person without the money, political clout, or legal teams that are the norm for successful corporations. Like me, you need to know your audience before selecting the cover. I also recommend reading this article by Susan Quinn.
5 Steps To Make Cover Selection Easier For You:
1. Know your audience and genre. For this book (unnamed) my audience is thriller readers. Your book cover should convey genre to browsing readers on sight at the thumbnail level. Romance covers are the most obvious example. Basically the cover you select must send the right signal to “your target readers” to stop and read the blurb. It should look like the others but stand out from the pack. The way to understand this feeling is to go to Amazon or other book stores and scan the top 100 covers in your genre. Note the colors, the fonts used in the title, the tagline placements. After this study, you should be able to identify your genre covers at sight.
2. Go to as many cover artists sites as you can find and study their work. Some lump their premades under genres for you. For a newbie this helps a lot. Others present their premades in a general mix, but most artists tell you they may specialize in a certain area like fantasy or romance. Premades move fast, so they’re usually current with market taste. Basically, you want to get a feeling for designs you like. Warning: If you buy a premade cover, ask the artist if they think it fits your genre. If they say no, heed their advice.
3. Check out writer forums like Kboards. Authors do a lot of cover reveals and members give their input. (I’ve never done this before, but will on this cover). Cover designers come on to offer font tips or other advice. This can be very educational when you’re in a cover search.
4. If you go with a custom design, give the artist pictures of ideas you like (pinterest board would be handy) or tell them which of their premades caught your eye. You’re revealing your personal tastes, and this gives them a baseline on how to please you. Some artists give you a list of questions to answer about the book, so they have a foundation baseline. If choosing a custom design, ask for choices. This can be a rough draft, but you want to make sure the cover is on the right track. The beauty of custom designed covers is the artists are willing to work with you because they want your repeat business. Cover artists vary in price and many are very affordable.
5. Whether going DIY, premade, or custom don’t labor to put a scene from the book on the cover. I think this is every newbies first starting point and causes the most frustration. Simplicity draws a reader’s attention. Simplicity though, must hint at the genre.
Stay tuned for my upcoming cover reveal. At this point I’ve narrowed the selection down, but haven’t made the final choice. What about you? Any tips to add? If you enjoy this post please share in your social networks.