Thursday, December 29, 2011

Judging a Book By Its Cover

With the advent of eBooks and ereaders like Kindle, Nook, and iPad, the aspiring writer has an opportunity to be on par with the Big 6 publishing houses. The one thing that they had in the past that authors did not was distribution. Now, you can get that rather easily with free accounts with Amazon, Barne & Nobles, and a slew of others.

The convenience of being able to produce your own book and keep all the profits for yourself is liberating, to say the least. The savvy indie publisher/author will know when to do things themselves and when to call in a professional.

One of the instances that I am adamant about calling in a pro on is in the area of book covers. In this industry, people judge a book by its cover and rightly so. It can make or break a book as I've mentioned before. I scrutinize covers constantly and will be the first to tell you that if I dislike the book cover, as in it looks cheap and unprofessional, I will not buy the book. Hands down. No discussion. It is a reflection of how serious the author is taking their craft and when they can't take it seriously enough to present a polished product, I'll pass.

In Christian fiction, I find this to be the number one problem. In perusing the Christian sci-fi Top 100 at Amazon, it took me to about the 40s before I found a cover by an indie author that looked professional. It was called The Didymus Contingency by Jeremy Robinson. The cover is good and it actually prompted me to check out a couple of his other titles.

Even if the book is free, if the cover looks amateurish, I won't bother looking further at an unknown author. There has to be a perception of value that I'm getting from the beginning. Apparently, I'm not the only one that thinks this way. Over half the readers will agree with me when they shop for a book. Of course, this is fiction only, not non-fiction which is a different story.

Since the cover is so important, it would behoove you to make sure yours looks the best that it can. I suggest saving up the money, budgeting between $400 and $600 dollars. You can get a very nice looking cover for that price.

Below is a short list of book cover designers/artists that I recommend (remember, this is for fiction only):

The book cover above is a part of Carl Grave's portfolio. Guy is good if you're going for the thriller novel look. Christopher Steininger is just a good artist. The two companies listed make pretty good covers and Howard David Johnson does some top notch work for romance and fantasy.

The long and the short of it is that you don't want to cut corners here for the sake of a lack of funds. Everything that we do we should do for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). This is an area where you need to bite the bullet and get someone to do it for you. It's the first step in getting folks to take notice of your book. And that's the point, right?


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