If you’re self-publishing a book, you will find a great selection of print on demand services to choose from, they’ll offer varying options and services, but all of them will give you a path to getting your book in front of a reader.
From a design perspective (and by this, I mean your book cover design), each print on demand service will vary with regards to how the book cover is created, the size, margins, spine width, format and even color profile. As each service will print your book slightly differently, you will find that each option will need to be created differently too.
We have all heard the phrase “Never judge a book by its cover”, the point being that we should look a little deeper than just face value, however, at the same time we know that advertising (and this is what your book cover is) works. The leading brands in every avenue of industry spend a great deal of time and effort in creating advertising that speaks, and most importantly, relates to their audience, that connection is what can help to give the consumer the motivation in selecting their product (pricing is also a factor, but in a market where prices are similar, your advertising is what will make the decision for the buyer).
The book cover design is the face of your advertising and packaging for your work, as we all know, people do judge books (and pretty much everything else) initially by first impression, this is why advertising is such a massive industry and why you should take it seriously too.
So, having a professional book cover is important if you want your work to be taken seriously, we all know that reviews help with this too, but you need to sell books before you’ll even get these (genuine reviews that is, and we all know that the first handful are friends and family).
If you are taking your life as a professional writer seriously then you’ll understand that your journey is one similar to starting (and running) a small business, again, this is if you are looking to sell copies of your work (and why wouldn’t you be) reaching a larger audience than those who dabble in self-publishing for fun.
Your book cover design will become the face of your work and as such will always play a very important role, it gives the viewer an immediate idea as to the contents and whether or not they’re going to look any further.
So, understanding this purpose (more than it just looking pretty) is important to you as an author, if you want your book to be taken seriously and ultimately sell, then you need to understand that its advertising, presentation and design will need to be both professional and able to compete within the market.
Most serious authors get this, knowing that their competition is vast and full of big name publishing houses (as well as indie authors) leads them to adopt a professional approach to the launch of their publication. There are close to 2,000 books published every day in the US alone, so without a focused plan you may find it challenging to get people to see your new book.
If you’re an author who is about to embark upon the creation of a book cover design, you’ll have started to research designers, the process and maybe even the thought of creating a cover yourself, and the more you look into it the more confusing it can seem.
So, what are the basics that you should be aware of as you get a cover made (or try to make one)?
The first thing to ask is as to where you’ll be selling the book, most authors will choose both eBook and print, as such you’ll need book cover designs for both mediums (and there is a difference between the two).
Because the two options for publication are different to each other we’ll look at them separately, starting with eBook design.
Creating a book cover design for any manuscript requires research and (most importantly) information from the actual author/publisher, this may sound a little obvious but sometimes this information can be a little slow in coming.
It’s not unusual to work upon a project where the only information you’re initially given is a short sentence telling you that the cover needs to have a man on it and should look kind of dark and have a forest in there somewhere…… and that’s it.
The first things you’ll ask yourself is, how old is the man, what does he look like, what’s his hair, eye and skin coloring? Does he have any unique features? What’s he wearing, what’s the time period, what’s the genre? Where is the location? Who is the book aimed at? And so on…
If you’re getting a book ready for publication you will have definitely heard the term ‘Trim Size’, this comes from the process of printing and actually creating the book itself, your book being printed on large sheets of paper which are folded, bound and then trimmed to the appropriate size.
And this leads on to a very good (and often asked) question, what should the trim size of my book be?
Well, it depends, there are some rules as to what the industry expects certain genres and topics to be printed as, but in these days of self-publishing those rules aren’t followed as much as they once were.
We all judge books by their covers, it’s human nature to do so and why advertising works so well on us, after all, if advertising didn’t work, then all of the products in your local supermarket would be in plain packaging (it would be far cheaper for the manufacturers).
But advertising, packaging and book design works because it targets our emotions, there’s a saying in sales that ‘you don’t sell the steak, you sell the sizzle’, because if you advertised just a raw steak it appeals less favorably to our senses than the same steak just cooked, still sizzling and on a plate ready to be eaten, think of the last TV ad you saw for any major restaurant to confirm their method, you’ll also see the same in banner ads on line and in print too (and for every product).
One of the most important elements of your book is the cover. Marketing can only bring the reader so far. The odd thing is that previously, the cover was usually not as important. More emphasis was given to the content inside. However, it has been noted that the book cover can definitely impact the appeal and the sales of the book.
People are visually impacted by the products around them and a beautiful book cover will compel someone to buy it. This is the first step. Once they pick it up, they will look at the blurb on the back which is when most make up their mind to buy it. To get to this point, the cover needs to be appealing enough to tempt them and they will be willing to buy the book.
Your book cover design will become the ‘face’ and (most importantly) the advertising that represents your work as an author, with so many books being published on a daily basis, it goes without saying that making a great first impression is vital.
So, having a professional and creative book cover design should be at the top of your list (among editing, marketing and publishing of course), but how do you know what should be upon the front and back pages of your book?
Every author will ask themselves what the most important elements that should be upon the cover design are. You can end up thinking of the many key points within any book and find it is easy to become overwhelmed, convincing yourself that ten or twenty different things need to be shown (in order for the reader to understand ‘everything’ prior to reading).
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