Don't judge a book by its cover, they say. Unfortunately for writers, we all do! Hours, weeks, months, years poured into writing a book and the most talented writer in the world can go completely ignored. Why? Because the book didn't jump out at us. No matter if it's a post on facebook, on an amazon e-shelf, or in your favourite book shop, we all look for a cover that grabs our attention. So why's it important and how do we get it right, especially since the majority of us will be handing this incredibly important task over to someone else.(
If you don't, this is the place to start. Once you know what a professional cover looks like and which ones you would buy, save all the images and put them together. I don't care if you print them and stick them to a piece of paper, if you stick them on a word document, or if you spend hours on photoshop creating a professional mood board, but you need to have these covers together.
Then you can go look for a designer. When your doing this you want to look at a few things:
When you've got all this right, approach the designer and tell them what you've written. Tell them the genre and the atmosphere of the book; tell them who you think will buy it (teens, Mum's, 18-35 year old sci-fi readers). Be as precise as you can. Then share your collection of other book covers. Your not saying 'I want something exactly like these', you're saying 'this is the feel I want my book to have' and 'this is the market I need you to help me access'.
Finally a few small thoughts about what to avoid.
If you're reading this, I guess you've either got a finished book, or one that isn't far from it. In which case CONGRATULATIONS and good luck. :]
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Ben Warden - Editor of the #SFFiction project and author of 'Life Without', which made the top ten literary fiction e-books on amazon.