Authors all agree that a book cover is one of the most important aspects of marketing and selling a book. Agents always try to negotiate book cover consultation rights, which, in practice, can be a bit of a tug-of-war with the publisher. Book cover approval rights are rarely granted since publishers want to retain ultimate control of what the book cover will look like.
There are so many considerations that go into what makes for a visually appealing and memorable book cover. For instance, does the cover convey the feeling or tone of the book? Is the book cover translatable to thumbnail format, where it can be easily distinguished from other covers? Is the font clear from a distance? Also important, does the author like the cover? Does it appeal to the right audience? These are all varied considerations when taking into account the design of a book cover.
Because our brain processes a visual image instantaneously (versus text which requires a much more complex multi-step process of decoding), it’s important to get the cover right the first time for maximum impact. If you are self-publishing, it goes without saying, but work with a book designer who has designed book covers before and who has a portfolio from which you can get a sense of the designer’s style. Readers are known to pass on a book which may have scintillating cover copy but a lackluster or even ugly cover. Yes, readers DO judge a book by its cover and the cover creates a lasting impression on the reader about its contents, so having a ‘bad’ cover can have far-reaching effects.
Study book covers in your genre and see what has worked and what hasn’t. Sometimes, something as simple as text in a signature font (see Jojo Moyes’s book covers) works well and evokes the author’s brand. Other times, an evocative image or an interesting play on colors will create a visually interesting cover statement (see Nina Amir’s cover below for an example on color-play).
And not to toot Fuse’s own horn (but this is our agency blog so toot away I will), but I think we have some pretty great examples of book covers that work well. Take this cover for Jamey Stegmaier’s book, A Crowdfunder’s Strategy Guide:
And here are some other awesome book covers from Fuse clients. I think the covers speak volumes: