With the big cover reveal for my upcoming book, Defy, on my calendar for the 29th, I've got book covers on the brain. It thus occurred to me that I should write a post about this topic. Why not, right?
Authors, I don't think it's possible to overstate the importance of having great covers for your books. Why would you go through all of the toil and trouble to write your (totally amazing) stories and then not invest in a spectacular cover? That would be akin to wrapping the perfect gift in crumpled and torn newspaper and tossing it carelessly at the intended recipient.
If you're like me, the extent of your book cover design experience extends to, well, absolutely nothing. (I mean, I did personally craft the ballet slipper-shaped cover of my fourth-grade story The Dancing Spider, but that's not what we're going for here). Thus, you'll want to hire someone to design your cover. The cost for this ranges quite a bit, but you can safely expect to pay between $300 and $500 for a custom design.
Yes, it's an investment...but if you have a great cover and a totally amazing story, the cover will more than pay for itself. Trust me on this! I was so green when it came to social networking, book promotion and marketing when my Daughters of Saraqael trilogy came out that it's a miracle I got any sales. But the fact is, I did. And the reason for those early sales was my covers.
Some items of note when it comes to your book's cover:
- Browse bookstores and identify a selection of 5-10 books that have covers you love. Your cover designer will want some direction to be sure she creates a cover in line with what you envision, and providing these examples will help.
- Make sure your cover design suits your genre.
- Be open to suggestions by the designer.
- If you have a website or blog, carry your author brand into the cover design. You can do this through font and color choices.
- Opt for a cover design that looks just as good in the mini-version that appears on Amazon.com and other websites as it does as a paperback.
- Request multiple file sizes from the cover designer so that you have them for promotional and printing needs. Most established designers do this without you having to ask.
- Review any contracts you sign to ensure you retain the rights to the final cover design.
Readers, what do you like in a book cover?