In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* Topic: A Quick Primer on Cover Design
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quotes of the Day
“[I]n the online world, the cover is the single most important way to position the book.” Bigstock blog
“When you browse the Amazon bestsellers in your genre, you should notice patterns in color schemes, fonts, layouts, and images.” Dave Chesson, Kindlepreneur
Topic: A Quick (Very Basic) Primer on Cover Design
If your immediate response to this is “I don’t need this because I have a cover designer,” well, good for you. But you’re throwing away a lot of money. If you’re prolific and haven’t yet hit the lottery, you probably really can’t afford to pay for cover design. But that’s all right. It isn’t difficult to learn.
I’m pretty settled with how to design book and ebook covers that sell. Still, in today’s “Of Interest” I listed a URL where you can learn more if you want to. (Disclaimer: I haven’t fully read the article yet as I write this.)
I’ve taken the “Designing Mystery, Cozy and Thriller Covers” online lecture from Allyson Longueira (if I remember right, it was only $50) and I learned a ton of very useful information that I can apply across the genres.
I’ve also taken the “Covers 101” online workshop from DWS (regularly $300, though I got it for half price). To me, the lecture was more valuable.
More importantly, I’ve designed hundreds of ebook covers for both myself and others. So I’ve practiced. A lot.
Here are a few really important notes:
1. Chances are good that the first time potential readers see your book, they will see it on Amazon or some other online resource. That means they’ll see it in thumbnail.
a. The title should be LARGE so it can be read in the thumnail version.
b. The author name should be LARGE so it can be read in the thumnail version. Your name is what initially sells your book.
When readers find what they’re looking for (your name) and click the thumbnail,
2. The cover art must be appropriate to the genre. I know. Duh. Yet you’d be amazed how many covers are not appropriate to the genre. Then the authors wonder why the books don’t sell. So
a. Bring up a list of bestsellers in your genre (again, Amazon is a great resource) and study the covers. What kind of art did they use? Illustration or photo? Light or dark? Colorful or bland?
b. Notice the space on the art for the title and author name. Was it natural to the illustration or photo or was it manufactured (a block or circle, etc.)?
c. Notice how the various elements of the cover (art, title, author name, author tag, series or genre tag, front cover tease) are aligned.
d. Mimic the cover with the same type of art and the same placement of cover elements used by those bestsellers.
3. As I’ve already said, the elements and their alignment are important. But what exactly are the elements?
a. Art — according to DWS, for fiction it’s better to use an illustration instead of a photo for your cover. For me, the jury’s still out on this. But remember that you can use PART of a piece of art for your cover. You don’t have to use the whole thing. The crop tool in any program is a wonderful thing.
b. Title and author name — as I’ve already mentioned, both should be huge. Consider not only height but also weight of the fonts you use. Within a series (or within a genre), consistency in placement and appearance is important.
c. Author tag — DWS uses “USA Today Bestselling Author” as his author tag. If you aren’t yet a bestselling author, you can use “Author of XYZ series,” “Author of the acclaimed novel XYZ,” etc.
d. Series or commercial- or literary-genre tag — For a series, this might be as simple as “Book 8 in the XYZ series.” For a genre, you might use something like “A Mystery to Die For” or “A Cozy Mystery to Snuggle Up With” or “Romance with a Twist” or “A Science Fiction Thriller” or “An Intense Mystery Short Story” etc. You get the idea.
e. Front cover tease — (Note: Not all covers for short stories or novels have a front cover tease. But if you want good sales, this really is the only element that’s optional. That being said, the cover tease isn’t a blurb, but a tease, something to make the reader want to read more. A cover tease is usually very short on one to three lines in much smaller print. It might be something like “What’s it like to watch your own life slip away?” or “Could you mine the bones of your own people? At what cost?”
I can’t overemphasize the importance of the front cover. A good cover will make the reader want to click through to see more.
Hope this helps. I’m happy to entertain any questions via email at email@example.com or in the comments. Your question might result in another post. (grin)
Talk with you later.
See “Barnes & Noble hit by cyberattack that exposed customer data” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/barnes-noble-hit-by-cyberattack-that-exposed-customer-data/. See PG’s take.
See “Do We Live in a Simulation? Chances Are about 50–50” at https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-we-live-in-a-simulation-chances-are-about-50-50/. Intriguing.
See “50 of the best graphic design blogs for inspiration in 2020” at https://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/50-of-the-best-blogs-for-graphic-design-inspiration/.
See “Book Cover Design Mastery” at https://kindlepreneur.com/book-cover-design/.
The Journal…………………………………… 890 words
Writing of “Turnaround” (short story, probably)
Day 1…… 1092 words. Total words to date…… 1092
Day 2…… 1287 words. Total words to date…… 2379
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX
Total fiction words for the month……… 1287
Total fiction words for the year………… 336481
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7380
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 157770
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 494251
Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 5
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 12
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 50
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 213
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31