I remember going to the bookshop and asking the shop assistant for a good book to read. He suggested a book by a well known author whom I had heard of but never read his books. He took me excitedly to where the book was on the shelf. He picked it up and dusted it gently. His face was lit up like a little child on Christmas day and he said, ‘seriously, this is the best book I have ever read, you’ll love it’.
As he handed me the book, the bubbling excitement which he had passed onto me turned to immediate disappointment.
The book looked totally unappealing.
It lacked any umph!
It had a very simple cover with some weird pictures which did not in anyway correlate with the title or even genre. I turned over to read the back but was even more bored by the choice of text style and unimpressed by the big picture of the author on the back. Actually to be fair, that was the only colourful thing on the book cover itself.
Needless to say, I did not go on to read this book.
Making your book as professional as possible involves more than just getting the right content; it is also about making sure the book has the right cover. This was part of the advice we got at the London Book Fair in April 2010.
The saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ should be avoided when deciding on this matter. Do not underestimate the impact your book cover can make to your potential buyer.
So Tip #2; seek professional help when deciding on your book cover. Most traditional publishers incorporate the design of the book cover in their services. However this means that the amount of control or choice you have on what your book looks like is very limited. If you choose to self – publish, this area is completely up to you.
It is essential that you choose carefully. Some self – publishing companies offer a range of templates for you to choose from. Others have professional artists who can work with your idea and create what you want for you. On the other hand, you can choose to find an artist yourself and ask them to do the work.
Whichever route you decide, ensure the cover is designed with your potential readers in mind. What might seem appealing to you might be a turn off for others. What might seem artistic to you might be completely distasteful to your readers.
My advice would be to use your book cover to convey a message about your book. If possible, let it correlate with the title of the book. Let it appeal to your target audience. If you are writing to teenagers, use colours, images and text that will speak to them. If you are writing to the business world, design a cover appropriate to them.
As much as I believe in freedom of expression and being artistic, remember that you want to sell your books, not decorate your shelves at home.
May God bless and keep you in His presence forever, Amen
Dr Elizabeth F Babatunde