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The Best and the Worst Book Covers

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Interesting book covers are getting more exposure on shelf-displays, both online and off-line. We are a very visual culture, which influences our book-buying habits. A stunning book cover is one of the best marketing tools for any writer!  And you will never have a second chance to make a first good impression with your book – online and offline!  In the last weeks I have seen so many ugly and boring book covers and lots of beginner errors on self-published books, I just had to write this reminder.
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Chris Robley wrote recently in a blog for BookBaby:

  1. Before someone buys your book, they will probably read your book description, blurbs, bio, and maybe even skim a few pages from chapter one.
  2. Before they can do any of that reading, they will have to pick the book off a shelf, or perhaps click to the book’s page on Amazon, B&N, etc.
  3. And before they are compelled to click a link or pick up a book, they will have to be attracted to your book’s cover (or thumbnail image).

From the moment a person picks up your book, you have about 6 seconds to convince them to buy it. This includes the time they take to look at the back cover and the spine.

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Front Cover Tips
E-books are bought online, usually displayed on a page with many other books. Therefore clarity, simplicity, brightness and information must jump off the screen. Use simple, yet stunning graphic elements and bold clear text for the title and the authors’ name, both must be easy to read on the tiny online image.
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Born2Barl

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And Never, Ever:
use the word “by” before your author name. Using the word ”by” screams DIY self-published.
use a white background for your book! White on white is barely visible and on websites your
book will not stick out, as the sites’ background are almost always white.
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BookCover_eat-pray-love-elizabeth-gilbert
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Back Cover Design
Book Layout Designer Joel Friedlaender posted in a great blog 7 Secrets to Writing Persuasive
Back Cover Sales Copy http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2013/05/casey-demchak-back-cover-copy
“If your cover is good enough to grab readers, your back cover copy needs to convince them to
buy. For authors who self publish this can be a challenge because writing promotional copy
many not be their area of expertise. Plus, for many authors it’s never easy to “brag” about
themselves and their own work.”
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BookCover_valkyrie-book-cover-design-think

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Visit a Bookstore
Check out all the books that are similar to yours. Place your book (or a mock-up) between these.
Does it look better? Is the spine eye-catching? Ask other patrons what they think about every
book, but don’t tell which one is yours. Listen to their opinion. Place your book on the first table in
the bookstore where the NY Times bestsellers are placed. Does your book cover really stand
out?  Has any of the bestsellers the word “by …. author name” on the front cover? For sure not!
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BookCover

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Book Cover Size:
Check if there are specific or popular sizes in the genre your book is in. And do all these
BEFORE your book is ready to print. Later changes only confuse readers and they are very
costly.
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Discuss these Points with Your Cover Designer:

  • Use bold or complementary colors
  • Use light on dark for dramatic effects (if it fits to your book content)
  • Test the cover in thumbnail size to make sure it looks good at Amazon’s website
  • Use not more than different two fonts in total
  • Use not too wide vertical spaces between lines of text
  • Use few shadow, bevel, gradient or glow – keep it subtle
  • Align the cover text – centre, left or right
  • Place text on plain background to stand out
  • Let the front cover design flow into the book’s spine
  • Use the same fonts for all your books and readers will be able to identify them easily
  • People read left to right, top to bottom. Position your elements in appropriate levels of importance

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Read more:

Lousy Book Covers
http://lousybookcovers.tumblr.com/
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Inside Random House: The Journey from Manuscript to Book
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFUcWguqr7U
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Inside Random House: “The Art of Cover Design”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2Z86L25v30
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“23 Creative Book Cover Designs and their Story” is a showcase of creative book cover designs,
indicating the typefaces used for the title or text:
http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/inspiration/creative-book-cover-story
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Front and Back Cover Copy for Book Covers
http://www.coverdesignstudio.com/book-cover-copy/
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Joel Friedlander wrote a great blog about brilliant book titles in one of his blogs:
http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2010/06/how-to-write-book-titles-for-people-robotsJoel
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Book Design and Production
http://www.amazon.com/Book-Design-Production-Pete-Masterson/dp/0966981901
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Basics Design Layout, 2nd edition
http://www.amazon.com/Basics-Design-02-Layout-Second/dp/2940411492/
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“40 Extraordinary Photoshop Text Effects”, it shows detailed tutorials, how to create amazing book title effects, step by step and is using lots of screen shots.
http://www.problogdesign.com/resources/40-extraordinary-photoshop-text-effects

Fonts for book titles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typeface
http://www.dafont.com/themes.php
http://www.1001freefonts.com
http://www.identifont.com

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Part 2: Improve Your Amazon Page

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…  Sell More Books.  In part 1 of “Improve Your Amazon Page” the importance of a great cover that reflects the books content was discussed.  What else can we do to sell more books:
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2. YOUR EDITORIAL REVIEW

Write as much about your book as possible and use all the space you get from Amazon:

  • Editorial Review—350 characters
  • From the Author, From the Inside Flap, and From the Back Cover—8000 characters
  • About the Author—2000 characters (All characters are including spaces, single page in 12 point Arial font is approx. 2100 characters)

See also the detailed information on Amazon
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3. AUTHOR CENTRAL & AUTHOR PAGE

At the Author Central page on Amazon you will receive lots of free marketing help for your book set up your Author Central account if you haven’t already done so. In Author Central, click the “Profile” tab. You will see sections for adding or changing your biography, photos, videos, speaking or other events, and blog feeds. Sections are always available in Author Central, so you can add or change the information later.

It can take 3 to 5 days for the Author Page to appear on the Amazon.com site – so start right now adding content to your Author Page. If you add or make changes later, they will appear on the Author Page within 24 hours of the time you add them in Author Central. There are lots of features for you to choose from – as more you add, as better:

  • Your Profile
  • Your Biography
  • Uploading Photos & Videos
  • Managing Your Blog Feeds & Your Events
  • Managing Your Bibliography
  • Uploading Book Images
  • Managing Editorial Reviews

Get all the information at: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/help

Uploading Videos: You can share video interviews, book signing videos, and other videos with readers. Your videos should focus on specific features of your books or your experience as an author. If you publish at both, Amazon AND on Barnes&Noble, also use B&N’s video feature: “Interviews, Meet the Writers: Video”.

Create a trailer for more book promotion and upload the video to YouTube, as well as to your own website, your blog or these of your friends, your Facebook site (ask all your friends to spread the word and to re-tweet).
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4. CUSTOMER REVIEWS

Anyone registered as an Amazon.com customer is entitled to write customer reviews. They do not have to buy your book at Amazon, to write a review. Customer reviews are in order from newest to oldest with the exception of “Spotlight Reviews” that are based on how well the review was written and how helpful it was deemed by our customers.

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5. BRING MORE VISITORS

What else can you do, to bring visitors to you your Amazon page and sell more books?

1. Create a direct link from your book to your Amazon book’s page

2. Link from your personal webpage, your email addresses, your blog, Twitter, Facebook etc. to your
book’s page at Amazon.

3. Create a signature with your book link for your email and also for any forums in which you participate. Whenever you write and end with your name, you signature with the direct link is always inviting people to
go to your Amazon book page.

4. You can even put this link to your book’s page on your business card – not only on all social media site, on your email signature or your blog.

5. Join the Kindle Forum to ask questions, get help and support from other authors.
Use every bit of support you can get from Amazon, and also what you find on this blog, and your book – if
writen well – will be a success!

6. Participate in a book cover contest, such as the monthly one at TheBookDesigner.

Doing all this should result in a sharp rise of your book sales.  Let me show you in one of the next posts how your friends and family can help you to improve your ranking on Amazon even more. 

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If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts (there are more than 560 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

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And don’t forget to spread the word on other social networking sites of your choice for other writers who might also enjoy this blog and find it useful. Thanks, Doris

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Hyper Smash

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Posted by on October 16, 2012 in Book Sales, e-publishing, Marketing

 

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How Book Sales are Influenced

… by attractive front cover design.  Five tips how you can create appealing book covers.

Visit bookstores, your library, or go to the internet and research as many book cover designs as possible.  

You learn as much from badly designed books as from beautifully designed books.

In the Western world people read from left to right, top to bottom.

Position your text and image in appropriate levels of importance.

Put your title in the top half of your cover. 

Avoid centering all the text on your cover or title page, this looks pretty unprofessional.  

Right or left aligning creates much cleaner lines.  Never use more than three different fonts on your cover, to not confuse your reader – this includes bold, italic or underline variations.

Use bold or complementary colors, but NEVER use a white or a very light background.  Use light font on dark background for dramatic effects (novels, spiritual, etc.) and dark on light for easy readability (self-help, how-to, business books).

The elements should be clean, not cluttered and the font easily readable,  the text balanced in size and style to the graphics.  Allow at least 0.5″ in from the trim guides to place all your elements. This will ensure enough allowance around the cover’s edge and provide a more tailored look. 

Give your finished cover the thumbnail test.  Your front cover image should look crisp and polished when reduced to post stamp-size for display on online bookstores like Amazon.

Your potential book buyer looks first at the front cover; then turns to the back to read further. Draw her or him in with a catchy back header.        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 16, 2011 in Book Sales, Marketing

 

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