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You CAN Judge A Book By Its Cover

According to marketing analysts, book covers sell books. This makes sense when you consider the endless racks of shelves and many displays in local bookstores. New or used book covers are more varied than ever. Add a digital component and you’re off and running.

My first book cover experience as a writer was four years ago. I designed a mock-up of a 45 rpm Capitol record complete with an adapter (that crazy little yellow thing in the middle.) The background was colourful etchings a teenage girl from the sixties might doodle. The title font and my name were highlighted on the record. I discovered after the fact, that my memoir design met the standards for an eye-catching book, even on thumbnails ( the tiny ads for books on marketing sites.)

Then came my first novel and a professional editor. I had a cover idea floating around in my head about cats and people in funny circumstances. It would have a western theme to go with the title, and my daughter’s fiance, a fine artist, rose to the occasion. From a number of his quick sketches, I chose the title emblazoned as a golden rope lasso. After considering various backgrounds, I suggested an evening country scene with a treeline of evergreens backed by the early rise of the sun. He produced this digitally and I loved the effect.

When I sent my editor the cover art, she thought it was great, but lacked something in the middle to complete it. Plus it was dark, maybe too dark for a lighthearted comedy? I fought her on this. The title rope was bright and my name would stand out at the bottom. Then it occurred to me she knew more about book marketing than I did, so after a number of her suggestions for something in the middle to draw the eye, I agreed to a whimsical little cat outline at the end of my name.

Fast forward almost a year. Through my editor, I have tracked interest in this novel via Amazon Advertising. It was not showing well on the thumbnails, guess why? Too dark and nothing in the middle. Potential buyers were not showing real interest past the first glance at the cover. My editor was right. She asked if I wanted to change it and adjust the blurb on the back of the book. I thought, why not? Now we are in the throes of searching out new brighter designs that better convey the story. Readers need to know at a glance, that the novel is more about people than cats,( although there would be no tale without the little dears.) Oh, and I’m keeping the rope.

I share my editor with an author who has published a number of successful books. She divulged about some of their differences in the past. Together they came up with a winner for her latest book,( see photo in sidebar.) It grabs attention by its title, gives an intimate tagline on the front, with a striking mix of sun and breaking frost through a window. The fallen teacup on the sill adds to the poignant nature of the story.( And by the way, it’s a damn good read.)

Published inOn Writing