Okay, back a thousand years ago when I started making a list of ideas for posts I dubbed March Book Cover Appreciation Month. A small part of my bird brain believes that it was a legit month theme created outside of me, but I’ve yet to find it out in the wild.
So, I’ll just make March Book Cover Appreciation Month.
I’m someone who loves design. In fact, I loved it so much I made it part of my degree. I use it in my daily life and I use it for work when creating social media posts. It’s a huge part of this blog and it’s a huge part of the novel world. I mean, I can bet that you’ve picked up a book specifically for the cover, haven’t you? In a sea of books at a store, library, or in those ebook pages, there has to be a reason for you to stop.
You either read the book because you have heard about it, you like the title, or you found the cover interesting.
It’s fascinating how many books I’ve picked up myself because of the cover. Or how much creating my own covers have inspired my writing. I’ve dabbled in book cover design here and there over the years and I’ve got a few things I’ve found to be important.
Can You Make Your Own?
The short answer is yes! But the long answer is far more complicated. If you want to sell your novel you have to ask yourself if you’re the best designer for your book. Don’t cut corners just because you can, if you aren’t a designer or know how to create a design for print or e-book, then you might not get the sales you’re looking for.
Traditionally Published Authors Don’t Have a Say
If you are going the traditional publishing route, more than likely any cover you’ve created won’t be used. Same with illustrations or map references. I love creating these and would definitely say they are a great reference for the publisher, but they tend to go for a more polished look and one they know will sell. Don’t be too heartbroken by this information.
If you do create your cover (or if you’re getting a friend or someone you know to create the cover) understand that copyright is a huge deal. You can’t use celebrities on your covers. You have to own the rights to the images and you have to own the rights for how many times that image can be reproduced. Some images you can purchase but can only print/use for up to a few thousand copies. Remember to read the fine print on those images. If it sounds too good to be true with price and use, more than likely it’s true.
Also remember free use images have rules too, make sure to check that out.
What Makes a Good Cover?
There are so many parts to a cover and if you have no knowledge of design it can be hard. I plan on giving you a few tips later on this month, but overall it’s important to convey a concept of your story from the cover. Which books have you picked up because of the cover? What made you like it. Each genre has their own peak books and styles that people tend to pick up while still being unique. Plus, simple concepts like rule of thirds and picking colors that complement each other. If you’re super interested in creating your own cover, be on the look out for my post about my favorite tips later this month.
Never Lie to Your Reader
This is huge and one of my newest pet peeves about books (trust me I’ve gained a lot of them over the years). The cover shouldn’t lie to the reader. If your main character is a red head with freckles, don’t put a blonde girl on the cover. If it’s a romance between a man and a woman, don’t queer bait with two women being intimate on the cover. It’s important to tell the story you’ve written and show that to your reader.
They won’t continue to read your work if your cover doesn’t make sense to the story you’ve written.
All in all I love book covers. They are why I still grab paperback (and hardcopies) of books even though I listen to books and read audio books. I just love how beautiful covers can be and the trends that occur over the years.
Let me know in the comments what books you’ve loved for their covers (and the ones you’ve hated). I might break down why you love them or hate them in a post in the future.