You CAN Judge A Book By It’s Cover…And Most People Do

This one is for all you self-publishers.  You have complete control over your book.  You get to decide not only what goes in between the covers, but what goes on them as well. That’s a fun and daunting prospect. The cover-design process at a publishing houses can be very fraught. There are lots of perspectives to weigh. And while it can be liberating to have the choices be entirely your own, there are also some potential pitfalls. So here are some things to keep in mind when you are overseeing your cover design.

1. Use a professional designer, preferably one with lots of experience in the children’s book market. Look at her work and talk her. Make sure you are “on the same page,” so to speak.  You want to have a good rapport with this person and a healthy respect for her abilities and opinions.

2. Don’t surprise the world. Show it to readers, other writers, librarians, booksellers and people in the book business. Watch them as they look at it.  Register their reactions in real time–don’t just take them at their word. You want to know what the visceral reaction is to your cover.

3. Look at your cover from everywhere.  Hang it up across the room.  Wrap it around a book and stand it up on your desk. Put it on your shelf spine out. See how it stands out from the multitudes. You need to know what the visual representation of your book will be from all kinds of different scenarios.

4. Make your cover speak to many.  By this I don’t just mean to many readers; I mean to many other covers, too. In fact, you could argue that it will speak to the most readers if it’s doing so via the common language of its fellows. Your book cover should be speaking the same language as other book covers for a similar audience. Like so:

Hunger Games

Divergent Insurgent Allegiant


But you also want to….

5.  Make it yours.  Give the cover some little detail, color scheme or visual idea that will stand out to the reader. It gives the consumer one more way to remember your book.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Simple, iconic, memorable....

What’s your favorite cover of late?  What do you think makes it work? Let me know in the comments.

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