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How to choose your next cover design

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Sep 13, 2017 5:31:13 AM

Years ago I attended a seminar on book cover design that was hosted by one of the Big Six (at the time) publishers. As an indie author just getting started, I wanted to know all the secrets of the industry. What I discovered is there are no real secrets. There's a quote that comes from John Wanamaker, a department store mogul in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, that embodies what I learned that day in the marketing/cover design seminar. He famously proclaimed, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."


The only thing that didn't match in his quote is that the success rate in traditional publishing is only about 30 percent. Keep in mind, there are entire departments in major publishing houses with the sole purpose of researching the best way to market a book. These are folks with advanced degrees in some cases that conduct focus groups and use scientific studies to determine what a color represents to a consumer. What font is more appealing on a cover. Are people more likely to buy a book with a human face on the cover or an inanimate object. They explore every little detail.

The presenter at the seminar talked about one particular case involving the European release of a book that had done well in the States. They researched and created mockups and conducted focus groups, and they chose a cover that was nothing like the American version. The book failed miserably in Europe. With all their resources, they couldn't find a cover that helped the book sell. 

You probably don't have the resources of the major publishers. With that in mind, here's how you should go about picking a cover design for your next book. Pick something that appeals to one person, you. Whatever grabs you, that's the cover for your book.

-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

Richard Ridley is an award winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Sep 21, 2017 7:02 AM smartesusieq    says:

I design my own book covers because, in the world of Kindle and online reading, the cover is part of the sell, I believe anyway. So out of my Trilogy... book, I  have a woman with a gun, but you don't see her face. That is for the readers imaganation.


However, it had objects in the cover that 'cover' aspects of the book the Title didn't include. Most ppl love that cover and the book has done well. Book II was my favorite, the cover included the girl's face and objects to describe things the Title didn't include. The third was similar but the color scheme and the American Flag stood out.

On Audibles, while requesting narrators it was book 3 with the deep blue color scheme, the American Flag, and a man in one corner and a woman in another. This book got several auditions daily. So the cover can sell the book. Book I and II covers did not get the same response from Audible narrators. So there was something in the Book III cover that really got attention. I have to go back and really analyze them to see what was so appealing.

Oct 3, 2017 2:34 PM PCHPatti    says:

Best advice I received: make sure your cover is readable when shrunk down to a thumbnail size. That's how it will appear in many situations. Patti Ryan