Getting your book ready for publication involves many aspects, but one which can get overlooked until the last minute is the blurb for the back of the book cover design itself, these words are something we can take for granted when picking a book off the shelf and flipping it over, but when it comes to writing your own it can turn into a process which can last days and even weeks.
The thing with the back page of your book is that you need to grab the attention of your reader (and you only have a moment to do it in), you must give them a hook which entices them to read more but at the same time you can’t give too much away either, it’s easy to fill the back page with text but will they read it all or just skim and put the book back down on the shelf? On the other hand, if you put too little text upon the back of the book cover then you miss an opportunity to sell, yes, getting the blurb (and Bio) for your book does require focus.
It is important to realize the point of the back page of your book cover first, now, most people will say that it’s going to tell the reader what the book is about, and whilst that’s correct you need to understand that there is more to it than that. Simply put, your back page is your sales page (a continuation of your books advertising), a great blurb will make the reader want to know more and ultimately buy your book itself (it will overcome the objection of parting with money and investing the time to actually read it).
So, what should you consider when getting your back page text read for publication? Here are some of the most important elements which will go into a great blurb/bio.
With some focus you will be able to construct a blurb which will grab the imagination of your reader and increase the sales rate of your book, don’t forget, the blurb is a very important element of your cover and a key tool in promoting and advertising your book.
A book cover is more than just the image or illustration which goes into it, the font which is used plays a larger and more integral role than the average person realizes, it lays the foundation for the initial perception of the viewer’s understanding of the book’s concept itself, as such the font used on any book needs to be selected with care.
When designing a book cover the font chosen needs to perform many jobs for the author, it should of course tell the reader what the title, subtitle and author’s name are along with the blurb, bio and (in some cases) quotes/testimonials upon the back page too. This is the basic information that needs to be upon the cover in order that the reader gets the relevant information.
However, this information (especially what’s on the front page) will give the viewer an idea as to the genre and book’s contents quicker and more succinctly when the correct font is used, when you look at the examples below, you can see that the first example uses a font which lends itself well to a book within the fantasy genre whereas the second version uses a sans font that leads to a confusing finish to the cover design.
The use of a sans font lends itself better to non-fiction and children’s book, however, when a sans font is used in uppercase then it can work very well in fiction, as a bold and block sans this type can give a dramatic feel to the copy on the front cover and make a bold impression instantly.
You also have the choice of script and cursive fonts to use upon the book cover, these work very well for use as titles, subtitles and author names but shouldn’t really be used as the font for the book’s blurb and bio, the cursive font when reduced in size and as a body of 200 to 300 words makes it very difficult to read. When you are choosing a font for the blurb and bio, then either a sans or sans serif is a better choice, if you make it easy for your viewer to read the copy you stand a better chance of them doing so.
Once you have a book cover design created then you may be faced with an image which has many aspects to it and so the placement and choice of font needs to take in to account how easy it will be to read, with the example below you can see that the bold font matches the style of cover and at the same time is easy to read, the second design uses a font which indicates its fiction but is so narrow that it gets lost within the background of the book cover design.
The correct selection of font is integral to the book cover design and should always be considered when developing the cover, you can of course add to the font with various tools within Photoshop and InDesign, this means that it becomes even more embedded within the cover (and not simply an afterthought). You should always place as much importance on font selection as you do the actual design, do this and you’ll get a cover which is both balanced and professional.
Book cover design and advertising for your novel has never been so important to any author, we all know that ‘Indie’ (or self) publishing has become easier than ever and that getting a book to market can be done in a matter of hours. With this ease to market comes greater competition for every single author and as such taking a business-like approach to the launch of your book is vital.
So, when we look at the book cover design itself we have to understand that it has a very important job to do for you, along with the obvious task of looking nice, telling the reader the author’s name, the book’s title and subtitle of course, your book cover design is the advertising and ‘face’ of your work, get it right and you will catch the eye of your reader (catch their eye and you increase the chances of selling more copies).
The book cover does need to follow some basic rules in its design and layout, now normally we’re all against such things as being sticklers to the rules (as we like to think outside of the box and so on), but with a book cover it does need to follow some basic principles. For example, a book cover design without the title or authors name anywhere upon it will confuse your reader, you will also need to have the layout in a specific format to fit the book itself (this can also require using a certain color profile for eBooks and another for the printed version).
Technically there are elements which must be completed in a certain way in order that your book cover design works out in the real world of publishing, there are also other elements which should be taken in to consideration with your design too, these are basic elements which give your reader an idea as to the book’s content.
Here the rules become a little less rigid and your creativity comes into play, but you still need to consider some basic messages which will stop any confusion, the reader will want to know from the cover design several very basic things at least, these will be the genre and if it’s fiction or nonfiction. From this point you move on to other elements that can help the reader, the era of the book, the location, the time-frame of the book and most importantly the ‘hook’.
The ‘hook’ is an important element from within the manuscript which draws the reader to look closer at your book, it’s what makes someone pick it up in the store to read the back page. This has to draw the reader in but without giving too much of the books conclusion away, it can be symbolic (think of most self-help book covers and you’ll see what I mean) or it can be an element within the story such as the main character or focal point.
When you further break book cover design into genres you can find that your reader ‘expects’ to see certain things upon covers, if you search for books on fantasy then you will find a trend with the types of covers on display, then same goes for crime, thrillers, romance, historical and pretty much anything else available. However, following trends too closely will not ensure that you have a book cover which stands out to the masses, you want your book cover to tell a message (and quickly too) but it needs to both represent your work professionally and be unique.
The guidelines within book cover design and publishing will help to get a cover which technically works, but it’s when you get creative with the ‘art’ within the design, then you appeal to your readers, then your book has a great cover.