The Story Behind the Cover

How Important is a Quality Cover Design for Your Book’s Success?

Remember the old cliché, “You can’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, that may be true, but when it comes to marketing your book, the cover is obviously an essential component. It is the lure that draws the reader to your book, and unless the consumer is attracted enough to pick the book up, they will never buy it.

While the author and publisher are given full latitude in providing ideas and content, we also involve several members of our staff who offer valuable suggestions related to in-store marketing, artistic concepts, media acceptance, and shelf appeal.

For authors to receive the maximum benefit from cover design, one of our freelance graphic artists has some advice. Chris Tobias believes that a good cover must rely on a good concept.

“The concept needs to address the subject of the book, the market to whom it is written, and the genre,” says Tobias. “It should act as a billboard for what is written therein.”

All too often authors try to over-illustrate their cover, making it entirely too literal. Others try to be too cute or subliminal with the meaning of the cover, often confusing the media and the end consumer. “Trusting your designer is always a good idea, states design coordinator Katy Powell. “Authors are often too close to the story to be the ultimate critic of their cover design. A professional designer is in tune with the industry and has the expertise and insight to create compelling design.”

Tobias knows how difficult it can be to bring a cover to fruition when not only the author is sharing her ideas but when editors and marketing people have their say as well. This type of “group design” can lead to a cover that is “over-tweaked to death.” Instead, Tobias suggests that when you find a good designer, trust them just as you would trust any other professional.

“Trusting your designer is always a good idea.”

Powell agrees and reminds authors that on average, most book covers have eight seconds to capture the reader’s attention and even less time with media decision makers. Powell’s role is to guide authors through the design process and to ensure that the packaging of a book enhances the message inside.