Your book cover is the first thing a potential buyer sees, whether online or in the book store. So it is critical that you make it attractive. Here are five tips to help you design a book cover to sell more books.
1. Consider your target market.
There is a huge difference in the look of a book for one target market versus another. So you need to look in a bookstore to see what appeals to buyers like the ones who will buy your book.
For example, you may find that books for entrepreneurs are generally paperbacks, in the 5.5 x 8.5 size, with read and yellow as predominant colors and an average of 150 pages.
On the other hand, books for corporate executives are hard bound, in full 6 x 9 size, with blue and gray paper covers and an average of 200 pages or more.
2. Your front cover is the first impression.
When browsing online, the first thing that people see is the front cover. So you want to make it jump out at them, either with a large title or an attractive photograph. Ideally you want both.
Your title should grab their attention and your subtitle should give them more details. So while your title doesn’t necessarily need to have the key concept of the book, it does need to appear in either the title or subtitle. That means you can give it a catchy, memorable title that raises curiosity. But then you need to explain it further in the subtitle.
Whether or not you choose to put your photograph on the book cover is determined by your purpose and your fame. If you are well-known in your field and people recognize your face, then put your photo on it. Likewise, if you are using the book to build your fame, then your photograph is a good way to reinforce your image.
On the other hand, it is not uncommon to use an abstract image or design or a photograph of something associated with the book. For example, a book for architects may have a blueprint on it.
3. Your back cover sells.
Your back cover needs to have a headline, followed by a short synopsis of the book with no more than 200 words.
Follow that with testimonials and endorsements for the book. When you use a variety of sources that your target market recognizes or identifies with, you will sell more books.
Your bio paragraph and photo at the bottom of the back cover is optional. If you are building your reputation with the book, then include it. If you feel you will sell more copies based on showing more endorsements, use those instead.
Reserve the bottom right corner of the back cover for the bar codes that are required. Those will need to be included in the final design as well.
4. Remember the spine.
While we generally consider that people will pick up your book in a bookstore based on the cover, “face out” display is normally reserved for the top-selling books. Everything else is on the shelf, spine out.
So be sure the print on your spine is clear and easily read from a distance. While you want to have your last name on the spine for proper shelving, it’s better to sacrifice your first name, if need be, to allow more space for the title.
5. Test your cover.
Create a mock-up of your book cover and have it printed at your local print shop. Trim it to fit. Then wrap it around a book of the same size as your book will be.
Hold it. Turn it around. Show it to friends. Even take it to your local bookstore and put it on the shelf where it will appear once it’s published. Does the spine show up easily?
When you pick it up do you want to turn it over and read more about it? Does the cover make you want to buy it?
If you answer no to any of these questions, go back to the drawing board and refine the cover.
When you take the time to go through each of these steps, you will create a book cover that is attractive and attention grabbing – and sells your book.