Lessons Learned #15

I’m sorry for the lateness of this Lessons Learned, I normally post them on Fridays. Things never go the way you want them to go. I could have written it last night, but I had to watch ‘Warcraft’ at the cinema 🙂 .

This time, as expected, I want to share with you the lesson I learned about book covers. If multiple people tell you to hire a design artist, then maybe you should! They say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’ but everybody does. A cover is the calling card that draws people in. You have to make sure it stands out from the rest. Have a look at some book covers. Some are really not as good as they could have been. And what makes some covers really good? What are the things a cover should have/not have? Here are a few tips.

  • You must be able to read the title in a thumbnail. So don’t use long title names, like I did. I have just decided that ‘Succedaneum’ is way too long and have shortened it to ‘Suckers’. That’s the name I use in the book anyway.
  • Don’t use the same font for the author name as for the title name. I don’t know the reason why, but it’s a big no-no to do so. Use a serif and a sans-serif font, but they have to complement each other. It took me a while to figure out what this meant, but I think it means that if the e’s are round in serif, they also need to be round in sans-serif (not the hayfork version). Same with the a’s and k’s. They all have to be alike.
  • Make sure the title doesn’t disappear into the background. So don’t, like I did, use a dark red title on a black background. Again, this makes it really hard to read in a thumbnail.
  • Don’t put too many images on your cover. Don’t’ try to tell the story on the cover. Leave some for the imagination of the reader. Too many images also distracts from the title.
  • Don’t make the author name too small. Be proud you wrote a book!
  • Don’t use a male, six-pack, torso on the cover unless you promise some erotica inside the book. Just… don’t.
  • Hire a good graphic designer to do the work for you. Not only can they do it in a jiffy, they have an enormous ‘library’ of images to choose from. I just spend £20 on an image from the internet of a butterfly, which, when I finally got it, appeared to be a fake butterfly…
  • Don’t be afraid to tell the graphic designer what you like/don’t like. It’s your book, it should be the way you want it.

I hope these few tips help you make your book cover awesome!

Have a Happy Writing Weekend!

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