Two weeks ago I revisited one of my first posts about writing (Freezing time) or probably more aptly about finding the time to be a writer. Well, today, I want to revisit one of my first posts on publishing – the all-important book cover.
The cover of your book is probably one of the most important decisions you will make. It doesn’t matter if you have a great story if no one is willing to pick up the book (or in the case of e-books click on the image).
The cover is the first thing your readers see and is where they decide if your book is worth their time to even read the book description.
If you have the know-how, there is nothing wrong with designing your own book cover as long as it looks professional and eye catching. I actually have the skills to do my own cover (and did the cover for The Search) but for my other four fantasy novels, I have left the cover design up to someone with a little more experience.
You may go in knowing what you want or you may want to give the cover designers a few chapters to get an idea of your style and story. One way to get an idea of what you like, visit Amazon and see what grabs your attention.
Now unless you are willing to pay someone to draw you a cover, most designers are using stock photos and graphics.
The problem with writing fantasy is that many of the models in those stock photos are wearing modern clothing. Even the ones in “medieval” garb are not wearing what those in my story wear. It makes selecting artwork hard. If you want an idea of what is out there, check out at stock photo sites such as istockphoto, dreamstime and bigstockphoto.
There are several websites that offer cheap book covers that they have pre-made and just drop in your title and name. I am not saying these are bad if you just happen to find something that fits your book perfectly but in general, I would rather have something designed for my book that won’t be seen elsewhere.
To find a list of cover designers, check out this list on Smashwords.
Things you want in a cover:
- Simple, easy to understand
- Having an impact or something that grabs the reader’s attention
- If it is for an e-book, make sure it looks good at thumbnail size.
Things to avoid:
- Too many things on the cover/clutter
- Bad layout where title and author names are in bad location or size. (If you are famous, your name could be bigger than the title but typically you want the title to stand out more than your name.)
Just remember whether you use a “stock” cover, design one yourself or have an expert design your cover, the main goal of the cover is to generate interest and excitement. The time and effort that you devote to designing your cover will definitely pay off in the end.