I promised a post a while back about Book Covers, similar to the Web Design Hell post I did for the Fictorians. But then I found Creativindie’s post 8 Cover Design secrets that Publishers use. While he’s talking specifically about larger scale publishers and practices they use to draw in readers, there’s a lot of things that he covers that are good design guidelines.
NOTE! This is useful for writers and designers as well. Pretty much anyone that ever wants to make a book cover.
What it boils down to though is the following three ‘laws’:
1. Make it clear
2. Make it interesting
3. Make it look worth the cover price.
There’s that whole saying about ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ but people do. They totally do.
I do. Why?
Because if an author-publisher or a publishing house can’t be bothered to invest in a good cover artist or at the very least, a graphic designer, they’re probably cutting corners elsewhere. Maybe it’s a bad story, maybe it’s shoddy editing, maybe it’s a carrier for a soon-to-be viral outbreak of neon green comic sans. Even if the book is great but has a cover made in MS-Paint or some other newbie mistake, that’s the impression that it’ll give off.
Take a look at Chizine Publications’ catalogue to check out how a couple small presses in particular manage to balance beautiful cover works with, y’know, not being Tor or Baen.
That’s right, look at their covers…
…then look at this one. (I will give them credit for outlining the title in white.)
There’s nothing wrong with not being a visual artist, but sometimes it’s good to be aware of that. After all, you can be an amazing writer, and struggle with stick people.
Remember, if you want to be a professional writer, you need professional products. A cover can go a long, long way towards that.