I’m a firm believer that a writers story is what sells their work and builds their brand. The cover is just an initial delicious enticement to enter. The old adage holds true: ‘You cannot polish a turd.’ Create unique and interesting stories, package it in an alluring cover and then focus on promoting the bejesus out of it.
When I first started out in the industry I went against the grain by intentionally not educating myself as much as possible on what other successful writers were doing. Instead I looked up creative people outside of the publishing industry that I admired and spent countless hours trawling websites, blogs, interviews to gleam an understanding on how they have structured themselves. After all I wasn’t looking to model myself on anyone person or style, I wanted to find smart ways of uplifting and promoting my own take on things.
One of the key points that screamed out consistently is the importance of providing an outstanding product and /or service:
“Design cannot rescue failed content.”
― Edward R. Tufte
I’m not intending on telling you whom I selected to observe and research because you need to find the people that inspire you. I will however mention and encourage trawling through Ted Talks and other such forums. There were many a time I listened randomly to a speaker on a non related topic to publishing and found myself taking notes because their points raised, ideas, suggestions were able to be applied to what I was trying to achieve as an up and coming author. It fueled my imagination to look at things in a different way. I truly found it invaluable and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to be a part of a growing community of experts, entrepreneurs and inventors who are making a difference.
A delicious cover can only get you so far, the content of what you have written needs to create a hunger in the audience for more of what you are providing. I can tell you the number one grievance I have seen referenced over and over by various writing promotion sites is focussed on the quality of a books editing. If it is not up to par with industry standards people will stop reading your work. You could have the most amazing concept spilling across the pages but if readers are constantly getting distracted by inconsistent formatting and typo’s as an example, they loose their concentration and you have lost a potential follower. In short, invest in getting your work edited properly or don’t waste your time and money on publishing your work.
Lets take a closer look at the covers:
|Adult Contemporary Romantic Trilogy||Book Covers designed by Glen Bellman|
My method for the conceptual design was simple. I wrote down a list of things I liked together with examples of pictures collated in a story board. Eg: Some of the design elements I find attractive are: colour, diagonals, bleeding lines. I searched the internet for a few examples that demonstrated these and placed them on a board to show my graphic designer.
If there are any specific elements of design I detested I wrote them down too. This ensures a far quicker turn around on cover edits because my designer knows up front what to avoid. Then I captured the key words or scenes in the book I have written to help stimulate ideas for the front and back cover.
There is a fine line between providing information and allowing the designer the creative freedom to do the work. I see it not just as an engagement for service but a collaboration. You have the opportunity to bounce ideas off one another. I find this portion of the book creation process to be very rewarding because it is only manifested as a result of the work and energy I have placed into making the story.
Some book cover design pointers from me to you:
– A book cover doesn’t have to cost a fortune to look good. There are great designers out there who you can engage for as little as $250.00
– There are sites which provide ready made covers. These usually range from $60.00 up
– Ensure whomever you engage is someone that you can and want to work with
– Revise the cover until you create what you feel is the right look and feel
– Kick off the process early so you are providing the designer and yourself plenty of time to get it completed
– Always reserve the right to execute your final tweaks just before it is due for submission to the publisher
Blessings – Truth