Self-published authors will need to put time and effort into their book covers. The cover is the first thing potential readers will see, which means there’s a lot of pressure riding on this first impression. In traditional publishing, the publishing house would have a cover designer or team of designers dedicated to the cover of the book. Self-publishing, however, presents the author with the unique opportunity to decide for themselves how their book will look once it’s printed.
Deciding on an image for the cover
The first thing that comes to mind when designing the cover of a self-published novel is the image on the front cover. The cover art can be simple, or it can be extravagant, depending on author preference and genre. A children’s book, for example, will have a more colorful and busy cover than the cover of a memoir or nonfiction book.
No matter what, the artwork should be visually striking. Whether it’s a fiction book or poetry or nonfiction or memoir, the image should stand out. It should grab the reader right away and be memorable enough to stick with them. A good cover image will make someone want to read the book before they even know what it’s about. Cover art is crucial, whether it’s an ebook, paperback book, or hardcover book.
When an author chooses to self-publish with DiggyPOD, and they want to design their own custom cover, they’ll need to ensure that they’ve chosen high resolution photos so that the images are clear and pristine. Design work and the design process can seem difficult, but like anything else, DiggyPOD strives to make it as easy as possible. For more on how to professionally format the cover, please visit How to Make a Book Cover.
Choosing a title (or subtitle) for a book
A large amount of cover design will go into the image, however don’t let this upstage the book title. A cover image will attract attention, but the title should keep it. A good title will capture the essence of the novel without revealing too many details. It can be short and succinct, or it can be long and compelling. What’s most important is that the title isn’t too convoluted or hard to remember, or it will negate the purpose of the book cover.
Book covers need to be memorable to the reader – something they can save to buy for later or recommend to a friend – so the title should be something easily called upon. A great book will have a title that a reader can’t stop thinking about.
Blurbs on book covers
Sometimes, a book cover will utilize a blurb to further its cause. A blurb is a quick sentence or two, most of the time by another writer, sometimes from a review, that praises the book in some shape or form. Not all book covers have blurbs, but those that do use them to convince the reader to buy the book. If the image or the title aren’t enough, a blurb is a good way to convey to the reader that the novel or book is worth reading, because someone else said so.
The book spine
Part of cover design is the spine of the book. The spine is where the pages are stitched and bound together, and it’s another place for the title and author to be displayed. The spine is what will show when the book is placed on a shelf in the bookstore, therefore it’s just as crucial as the front cover.
DiggyPOD now offers a Free Book Spine Creation service, where the self-publisher can enter their spine information, ensuring the title and author name will fit and look appropriate.
The back cover of the book
While the front cover may be the first thing a potential reader sees, the back cover will prove just as important. It’s natural for a shopping reader to turn a book over and read the back cover when deciding on whether or not to buy the book.
The back cover of the book (or, sometimes, on the inside of the book jacket) will most often feature a synopsis of the book (for more on how to write a synopsis, keep an eye out for Monday’s blog!). The synopsis is where the reader will learn what the novel is about and decide to purchase the book. This means that the design of the back cover must flow well with the front cover design. It will be less focused on an image and more focused on words, but it must still be formatted correctly to achieve a certain measure of beauty. The font style should be pleasing to the eye and not too cluttered. More blurbs can be featured on the back cover, if so desired, as well as a list of previous books self-published by the author.
No matter what, book covers are a dynamic place for the author to put their work on display. Book covers are way to summarize and show off, and they should be chock full of beauty and promise.