There is nothing quite like putting the finishing touches on your latest book and preparing for its release to the public. One of the final steps you will likely take is designing the cover. Some authors believe that this is one of the most important steps — the cover is essentially how you will market your work to the masses. You must take great care in the creation of your front and back covers as well as the spine of your book.
Today, we will provide inspiration and general guidelines for creating an attention-grabbing cover. We will also talk about the importance of designing your book for different platforms.
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The first step you need to take is to determine the imagery of your front cover. Ideally, the picture, colors, and wording should match the tone of your book and give readers a sneak peek of what is to come. For example, when you look at the various editions of The Invisible Man, you see that the cover shows the character and adds a bit of mystery, so your readers want to open the book and learn more. Make sure you don’t go so far away from your subject matter that people think your book is about something that it is not.
Your cover should also give potential readers an idea of the genre and plot of the story and potentially introduce the book’s protagonist. Be sure that you don’t overwhelm the reader with too many details, or they may believe that the book is beyond their comprehension.
In addition to providing details to your potential reader, you also want to try to make your cover stand out amongst the competition. Luckily, there are many graphic design trends that you can use to make your book cover pop. For instance, if your book supports the idea, you can add a 3D design that jumps off of the page. Or you can also go with a more simplistic hand-drawn illustration or stick with a minimalist look that features the title of your book, your name, and no picture at all.
Finally, your title is a window into the plot of your story, so make sure it stands out. Ensure that it is in a large enough font so that it is readable and stands out from the background graphics.
Back and Spine
The back and the spine of your book are just as important. When most people are instinctively interested in the cover of a book, they will likely turn it around to get a synopsis of the story. Make sure that your story blurb captures the essence of your plot and makes it exciting without giving too much away. Also, if you have any positive reviews, add a snippet onto the back so potential readers can see that other people also like this book.
You can also add a bit about yourself onto the back of the book. An author bio is especially useful if this is a book about a nonfiction subject matter and you are an expert on the topic. Use the back as a resume of sorts and list off a few of your credentials.
Finally, you also need to pay attention to the spine of your book. Although your book may periodically be placed in such a way that people can see the front cover, in most cases, it will be stored vertically on a shelf. Again, you need to attract the potential reader’s attention within a split second. Although you may have limited options, your book spine design should at least include the catchy title of your book, a vivid color, and if possible, a small image. Some authors choose to shrink down the graphic on the front of the book and put it on the spine.
Promoting Your Book Across Platforms
Although most authors dream of seeing their novel sitting on the shelf of their favorite bookstore, times are changing, and people are buying books in more ways than ever before. Today, we live in a time of personalization — where media companies, publishers, and authors need to put their book on every platform, including print, video, and audio, so it attracts different types of readers. If you plan to sell an audio version of your book, you must apply the same graphic design, so readers pick your story out of the crowd.
In addition, your publisher may advertise your book on specific platforms to directly address your target audience. Marketers make it a point to collect data on readers, and if they find that someone usually likes to buy their books online, then they may advertise via email. Or, if they know your audience watches TV, they may put out television ads. The point is that you need to ensure that the cover of your book is colorful and informative enough so that it captures the attention of your potential audience no matter how they see it.
If you plan to primarily market your book online, you need to expect that customers will only see a small thumbnail of your cover art on a large screen. To capture their attention, think about what part of the book will draw them in and maximize it on your cover. So, if your title is unique, then make that the biggest thing on the cover. If your title is minor, but your cover art is colorful or provocative, make that the star. Then, all that is left is to make the story itself worth the purchase.