By Michele DeFilippo (@1106Design)
Let’s pause for a moment and consider the role of the book cover – what is its purpose? A book cover is the packaging for the book. Much like a box of cereal, a tube of toothpaste or an expensive gadget, books need packaging. In addition to containing the product, packaging identifies the contents, differentiates the product from its competition, and influences the buyer to choose that product. Recognizing its importance and the critical role packaging plays in advertising a product, companies invest a huge amount of time and money in creating the perfect package.
So, too, do publishing companies invest heavily in book covers. They want each and every one of their books to have the best chance possible of standing out from all of the other books published every year. They have a vested interest in a book’s success; it’s only smart business to go the extra mile and package a book properly with an outstanding cover.
And it’s smart business for you too. Your book cover is the package you show the world, and as an author taking the leap into self-publishing, you need to go that extra mile to package your book properly.
Beat the Competition with a Stand-Out Book Cover
One thing that publishing companies realize is that few products face as much competition as books. Think about it. When you go to the grocery store to buy orange juice, for example, you have perhaps five, ten or fifteen different brands from which to choose. When you go into a bookstore, you are faced with hundreds, if not thousands of choices, even if you know that you want a work of fiction, or a cookbook, or a book about pets. Even at Costco, the book aisle provides many more choices than, say, the cereal aisle. Online, you have tens of thousands of choices. Faced with this vast selection, book buyers base their decision on which book looks more credible and worth the money, and they will make this decision in less than seven seconds. Seven seconds! And they do this without even getting past the cover, meaning that yours had better stand out!
So where to begin this process of creating a stand-out book cover?
Book Covers are About Business
Successful book cover design is part art, part science and mostly business. When you self-publish a book, you are not just the author; you are also the publisher, and when it comes to designing your book cover, it’s time to put on your publisher hat and think “business.”
The best place to start is where book publishers start, by doing some research into what the buyer wants. You need to do the same—the text inside of the book is about you, the author, but the cover must be all about the buyer. You need to figure out what your buyers want. To do that, some investigation is required. Go into your local bookstore and look at the covers of bestselling books. Look at the book displays; which books stand out and which disappear into the background? Talk to the store’s book buyers. What do they look for when buying books? Go to the Books page on Amazon and browse through the “best seller” and “featured” pages. Which books jump off the page? What do the covers of the bestselling books have in common? Never begin the cover design process without undertaking this important research.
What do you do with the information you have collected? Take it to a book designer, who can assist you in creating a professional and appealing book cover that targets your audience. Book designers are professionals with the background, experience and technical skills to create book covers and interiors that separate you from other self-published authors. After spending the time to do the research into what can set you apart, don’t end up looking like everyone else by trying to design the cover yourself!
About the Author
Michele DeFilippo is the owner of 1106 Design, a Phoenix-based company that works with authors, publishers, business pros, coaches, consultants, speakers—anyone who wants a beautiful book, meticulously prepared to industry standards.
For further information, visit http://www.1106design.com.
Photo credit: Stockfresh Photos