You can’t judge a book by its cover, or so the popular expression goes. But we do. We can’t help it! A good cover draws us in and makes us curious, both important elements when trying to entice a potential reader.
Covers lend credibility. They communicate something about you, your topic, your experience or expertise, and the mood of your writing.
On the front, font, images, and color work together to create a coherent message. On the back, an easy-to-read layout (which may include blurbs, author bio, and descriptive copy, as well as an ISBN, a logo, a website) should complement the design on the front.
If you’ve decided to create and submit a fully designed cover yourself, here are a few guidelines to consider before finalizing:
1–Final file requirements.
Be sure to check with your printer early to find out how files need to be submitted. If you’ve hired a designer, you’ll want to know this before beginning the design process.
2–Be sure you’ve proofread it, and had it proofread.
A second (even third) set of eyes is critical no matter how experienced you are. Misspellings on the cover can diminish the perceived value of your work. After all the time you’ve invested, it would be a shame to lose your audience here. For a quick online resource, try Merriam-Webster Online.
Often authors work so intensely on a project they may not realize how others will see it. Don’t be afraid to share it, pass it around the dinner table, ask a colleague at work. You might find that someone sees something you missed entirely, or offers a suggestion that really works.
4–Including an author photo.
Some people go for studio headshots, others prefer a more casual look. Consider your topic. If your book is aimed at a professional audience, then a more formal look would be appropriate. If you’ve written a children’s book, a suit and tie might not convey the right impression. Again, don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions. Look it over at the proof stage. If the photo seems unbalanced or cropped in an uncomplimentary way, try another.
5–An author bio.
Make sure it mentions areas of expertise that could lend credibility to your topic. If you’ve written a collection of literary essays, don’t be afraid to say you’ve taught English for twenty-five years. It may seem obvious, but some people are very modest, even uncomfortable writing about themselves. Be natural, be honest, and it will be fine.
Again, be sure you’ve had it proofread. You want names spelled correctly, verb tenses to agree, and punctuation where it belongs.
Traditionally, it includes title, author’s last name, and your logo, if you have one.
If you are thinking about stopping in to The Troy Book Makers with questions or for a consultation, know that your preferences will always come first. If you want to take charge of creating your cover, that’s great. But also know that we are happy to step in and help, or even take over, if you’re at a loss.
Want to browse some great covers? Try CoverBrowser, just don’t be overwhelmed!
History find of the day: The Historical Markers Database. Includes some notable sites around Troy.