The importance of a relevant congruent book cover

Self Publishing

If the outside of your book is badly designed or ugly, why would anyone want to read what’s inside?

A book cover is an invitation to a reader or a buyer; it is a way for persuading them to read your book. The cover beckons to them to enter the world of what your book is about and interact with your characters for awhile. Your cover should clearly convey to the reader the genre of your book. It should tell the reader in one glance what the book is about. It should not be misleading, like showing a cake on the cover but is really a murder mystery. It should be eye-catching, and most importantly, look like it’s been professionally done by a designer.

The above all makes sense.

After all, the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” was coined in the past before all the outlets for books we have now. Not judging BOOKS by their COVERS was to try and get people not to judge a book in a bookshop without actually looking inside it, when bookshops were the only place to buy books. So how do you make sure a potential reader/ buyer will be drawn to your book cover in the digital age?

1. Your book cover should be big and bold. The cover design needs to clearly display the book title and author name so they can be read even when the image is a thumbnail. Remember nowadays your book will exist in the digital world also, and eBook retailers like Amazon Kindle, eLibrary suppliers like Overdrive and Wheelers often display the cover as a small thumbnail. Make your title and author name very prominent.

2. Your book cover should pass “a second test.” Can a potential reader/ buyer understand what your book is about with a quick glance at your cover? Does your design quickly convey the vibe and tone of your work? A Mystery Murder novel? Make it suspenseful show a gun of knife, with blood. A Self help guide on how to make money? Make sure there are photos of currency on the cover.

3. Your book cover should make you look like you belong in Dymocks. Also your writing is of an international standard, so your book cover design should reflect this. If your cover art looks amateurish, like you have done it yourself, the customer will assume your writing is too.

OK, let’s reiterate.

Here it is all in a nutshell: your book cover should display your book title and author name clearly (even when the image size is a thumbnail); it should quickly set the genre expectations that you intended within the book. Major thing it should look professional! If it does not, then change it! You need to turn browsers into buyers, buyers into readers, and readers into fans, this will build you a following. You will also never get any book reviews from serious critics or bloggers, because when they are looking at a 100s of different books each day, they are making their decision based on the covers they see, if it is a good cover then they may read and comment on your book.
Your book cover is your first and best chance to make a positive impression. Put that cover to good use!