We often hear ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. True!.. That adage is generally used to caution that one should not be deceived by external appearance of anything. But when it comes to books, it could literally mean what it says. You really can’t judge a book by its covers. But these days, publishers can judge a sale of a book by its covers. A book that is not so much interesting could have an excellent cover and at the same time a book with a mediocre cover could turn out to be an interesting book. Every author strives to come up with a book cover that justifies the book content. It is every author’s interest and intent that s/he wants to produce a dashing book cover that would stop a customer to take a look and make a decision to buy. For an everyday reader it may not be easy to envision that so much imagination and hard work go into producing a book cover, before it hits the stands or released online or lands on your favorite eReader.
Long before the eBooks were published, there were people who were identified as book cover designers who would be given the book summary in terms of abridged content, character roles and some significant parts of the story that spell the turning point of the story. These designers then come up with few book cover choices which will be further evaluated by the author and the publishers. The final choice of design is what customers see on the book cover.
There are numerous designers who worked with big name publishers. Peter Mendelsund, David Pelham, Jamie Keenan are few of them who have etched their names in publishing industry. The book covers designed by them stood out from the crowd. Consider the book Crime and Punishment, The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, or The Doctor Zhivago, Metamorphis, SF Omnibus…. They all had a distinct design that would compel a reader to buy/read the book.
Even these days, such freelance designers are available who could do your book cover for a nominal price. In addition, there is also a proliferation of self-design software tools available in the market today which can be used to design the hard cover whether it is for online or paper based publishing. But how would you choose what you want to depict as book cover? Here are some of the ideas that you can use…
- Use a turning point in your story as the book cover. You could even use the story ending to be depicted in the cover.
- Use a collage of main events that happen in your story.
- Use an intriguing picture and have the readers imagine the outcome of the picture.
- Use only words with no picture
- Follow a simple theme on your current book cover and use the same idea repeatedly for all your future books.
- You can even use a controversial theme as a book cover.
The book cover should not be enlightening or informative or elaborate. It ought to be enticing, intriguing, judgmental, interesting, captivating, apt and carefully crafted!