By: Christopher A. Master, Lead Cover Designer
Ever judge a book by its cover?
Snap judgments (whether conscious or not) are what many of us rely upon when formulating our initial opinions. New foods, new clothing, new locations, new automobiles… the list goes on. These inherent “gut-feelings” are often our most reliable tool when making decisions based solely on appearance. So why should it be any different when considering Book Cover Design ?
Let’s face it, the cover is the most important piece of marketing your book has. A snap judgment is all that stands between your book and the customer, and the cover art is what will entice a customer to close that gap. Over the course of the next few months, I will be sharing some simple recommendations on effective cover design.
Fundamental 1: Keep it simple—Does the cover concept make sense for the book?
There really isn’t an exact formula for successful cover design. The best thing you can do for your book is create a concept that makes sense for the story or idea you’re selling. For fiction or biography, common elements include a character from the book or a scene that is integral to the story. For self-help and business books, good art can support a point or concept discussed within the book as well as convey more nebulous facets like mood and aptitude. It goes without saying that children’s books should appeal to their audience. Confusion on the part of the potential customer will result in a missed sales opportunity.
Try this simple exercise the next time you visit a book store. Allow yourself some extra time to stop in the section with books related to your specific genre. Scan at the selection displayed, judge the designs, and pick up the cover that is most appealing to you. Next, critically compare that design with the other books on the shelf. Then, make a list of design elements that you find appealing and use this to begin structuring your own cover design concept.
Go ahead. I won’t judge you for it.
Christopher Master works as the Lead Cover Designer at Infinity Publishing. With 10+ years of cover design experience, he has amassed a design portfolio of well over 1000 book covers. He has been married to his intelligent and very patient wife for nearly a decade. In 2010, they welcomed their first child, Sylvie, who is a now toddling machine. A few years back, Christopher published a collection of humorous true childhood stories entitled Tiny Cracker Zoo. Between work, family and freelance design, he strives to find the time to pursue writing a second book, this one focusing, perhaps, on the misadventures of new fatherhood.