“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” We all know the saying. We all recognise that there is a level of wisdom in it – but we all do it. We judge books by their cover all the time – or is it just me? The truth is, an eye-catching professional-looking cover can grab us. It makes us subconsciously think that the book must be good. Likewise, a bad cover can instantly put us in the mindset that the book is tacky an amateurish.
In this age of easy self-publishing, Kindles and print-on-demand, we are more saturated with books than ever before. Some of them are really good, and some of them are not. Sites like SpiritFiledKindle.com let us know all the freebies that are currently available. My Kindle is almost full. I have a “to read” list with 41 items in it, and that doesn’t include books I have in print, or the books that I really want to read but haven’t yet purchased. How does a person sift through all this and decide what to read next. Well, call me a bad person, call me shallow and foolish, but one of the measures I tend to use is the cover art. When I see a professional looking cover on a Kindle freebie I think one of two things:
- The book has been put out by a publisher and they have hired a professional to design a good cover. This means the book has also been professionally edited.
- The book is self-published but the author has enough pride in their work to get a professional cover. Maybe they have the necessary skills, maybe they have a friend with the skills, or maybe they forked out some money to get a cover made. This probably means they’ve taken pride in the writing as well and have produced a quality polished book.
I am not a published author yet, either traditional or self, but I can imagine that getting a good cover is not easy. Who really has the money to fork out for it? Probably not many people in this day and age. Still, the cover is the first impression that a reader gets of your book. If it is looks like something you slapped together in Windows Paint or Microsoft Word then it will scream ‘amateur’.
Okay, this is all well and good, but what am I saying practically? I’m no expert, but here a a few ideas to think about if you have to put a cover together yourself:
- Don’t use default Windows or Office fonts. Try to find a font that isn’t already used by everyone and his dog. There are lots of free fonts out there, and if you can afford it, even consider buying a font.
- Look at covers – a lot of covers – see what works and what doesn’t.
- Make friends with a graphic designer
Ultimately, I’m not saying we should judge a book by its cover, I’m only saying that we do.