You've written your baby...YOUR BOOK! And now you're ready to begin the process of publishing it for the world to see. There are many facets that go into planning and birthing your baby into the world, but one that is often overlooked or deemed as the least important is actually one of the most important... your book cover. Understanding the importance of an appealing book cover and its purpose, will set you apart from other authors in the industry. At Untamed Publishing, we want to give you advice that you may not have heard or will not receive elsewhere.
We're proud to have Kenny Black, Chief Graphic Designer of BlackEncryption Designs to give you the valuable insight you need to deliver your baby into the literary world with flare!
First and foremost, thank you for tuning in to this blog post. So why are we here? To talk book cover designs and why they are critical to your literary success. So who am I? Well, I am just a hard working Graphic Designer who cares about his clients success and now, I get to share some of my same best practices and insight I provide all of them with you!
So sit back and let’s talk the importance of a strong book cover design. Here is the scenario: you are starting a new literary project or you might be in the final stages of writing your best novel yet. Although you are feeling confident you know before you can go off into the sunset and show the world how fantastic your project is there is one piece of the pie that still needs your full attention. Until now, you may not have given it much thought…
YOU NEED A BOOK COVER!!! A book cover embodies your masterpiece. So before that little voice goes off in your head telling you, “Ahh the cover doesn’t really matter.” or “I’ll just pick a pre-designed cover and no one will notice.” STOP, take a deep breath… I'm here to tell you… BOOK COVERS MATTER!
So let’s get to the nitty gritty. In this blog post, we are going to dive into 4 golden rules I always share with my clients seeking a new book cover design and why they are so important not only for your overall project, but also to enhance your writer’s reputation and growth of literary vision.
Rule #1: Concept
As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, right? These same words can lift a book to new heights or even crash and burn a project before it can even get off the ground. Your cover is the face of your project and is the first visual representation of your work before the reader even turns one page. It should pull the reader in and have all of the elements of excitement, mystery, action, sexiness and drama while provoking a level of intelligence. Think about it when you are reading a great book and someone walks by what is the first thing that they see? The Cover! If the designer has done his job delivering the right vision you will most certainly get this response, “What is that you are reading; the cover looks interesting”. If you are not getting these types of responses then it is time to pull back in the wagon!
Let’s take a look at these two covers. Both are for the same book. Now think about it; which one delivers and is most pleasing to the eye?
Remember, we are looking for elements that strike curiosity, mystery and drives excitement.
Rule #2: Audience
Know your audience, but most importantly, know yourself and where you want to go as a writer. Covers expand more horizons than you know. When should you lean toward a certain ethic group, religious background, sexual orientation, and those with disabilities? At some point in your literary career, these will all be your audiences. The true test as a writer will be can you bring your current audience along for the ride. When building the concept for your book cover design, you should always have your audience in mind because, at the end of the day, they hold your literary future in their hands. With that being said, I must also tell you do not fall in to the book cover traps that will box you in. You want growth and the ability to transition across audiences and having balance is the key to a great author.
For example, I have seen tons of Urban Novelist who fall in line with the same concept art. You know the bright shinny script font, half-naked females or guys with a guns or money in the backdrop next to expensive cars etc. Well, some may slightly vary, but you get the picture. Now these may be fantastic reads, but at first sight, how can someone form an intelligent opinion about the individuality of the work of the author when every book cover in that genre pretty much looks the same? The problem is no one is standing out from the other, no one looks like they gave their design much thought. This may not be the case, but it is the perception that the reader will hold and it causes nothing but confusion. So remember live outside the box, create balance and drive your readers to be progressive by capturing them visually and stimulating a sense of intellect.
Hmm, can you tell these authors apart?
Rule #3: Quality
When it comes to quality take it serious and make it apart of your professional DNA. I won’t spend a lot of time on this subject because it is pretty much self-explanatory. I totally understand the pains of putting together the perfect project with limited resources. Most authors are working on a strict budget and are either self-publishing or working with a small publishing company who may not have a lot of collateral to purchase custom high quality book covers for their authors. I am begging you, with sugar on top, it is worth pushing your project back and raising the money to purchase a high quality book cover design. Never settle! This is your life’s work!
So to help you here are a few free stock image websites. These sites are a great starting place when creating your own catalog of images for covers and other promotional designs. I know these sites may not have a large catalog in some areas that interest you, but it is still a great starting place for ideas and concept art.
Remember when working with a book cover designer, if you can provide your own high quality images it speeds up the book cover concept process and the designer may also even offer a discount on the design itself.
CHECK THESE SITES OUT FOR FREE STOCK IMAGES:
When it comes to this rule, be sure to financially plan to ensure you can get the photos you want for your cover.
Rule #4: Delivery
This is always my last rule, and it’s the most important because it deals with who you are as a person and your passion for being an author. When everything is said and done and you submit your design for pre-publication and the first demo copy of your book arrives, how does it make you feel when you take that first look?
Make sure to inventory the entire process in your mind. Did you deliver on everything you set out to achieve? Does the concept shine through? Were you true to your audience and to yourself? Does the quality represent a New York Times Best Seller on the shelf of Barnes & Nobel or does it scream made for the basement?
Again, your book cover is your face. It is the front line in representing you as an author. So take your time and find yourself a good graphic designer who can deliver on your visions and believes in team work because only together working through the process can you achieve a great amazing cover that is sure to turn heads and excite genuine interest.
Don’t settle. With that said, happy journaling and page turning!
Kenny Black is the Chief Graphic Designer and Owner of BlackEncryption Designs. He is the winner of the UBAWA 2015 Best Graphic Designer Award. Stay connected with Kenny through these social media sites and we hope that you will decide to get encrypted with the Black touch! (Trust us, you'll love it!)
http://theblackdistrict.com | https://www.instagram.com/theblackdistrict | www.facebook.com/BlackEncryption/
As you can see, when choosing the face for your new book baby, there is no substitute or short cuts for great quality, concepts, originality and a designer who brings expertise while working with you to bring your cover to life. Remember, invest in yourself and others will invest in U!
Until next time...