Lets face it... the old line, "you can't judge a book by it's cover" is old and no one really thinks it is true. We all judge a book by it's cover... unless it is a well known author that could wrap the book in cardboard and it wouldn't matter. But for the rest of us the book cover is so very important.
Most people will see the cover and if it is good they will pick up the books and read the back, second most important thing is the back but that is a topic for another time. We are going to talk a little about the cover and little things to make your book look more professional.
Have you ever seen a cover and about LOLed? Yeah... I know. Some including some of mine are like gag, lame, as if a child took a ink pad and dirt and went to town. If your cover sucks you are already behind the game. The last thing we authors need is to start out with a crappy cover.
First thing is the right cover for the wrong book. Example of this is a book called Beat the Reaper. The cover is cool with blue comic book like burst and the title in red against a white background. It looks like a thriller maybe a comic book kind of book. What is it? a medical thriller... nope, good cover but for the wrong book. If your book is a mystery have a dark mysterious cover with a police car or something... you want to attract the right reader.
Next is the bad cover. Not anything about this cover is good and it screams self published! Readers will see this cover a mile away and run in the opposite direction. Sorry but here is a example.
I will not expound on why it is bad... but here are some tips and little things that will make a world of difference.
First have someone who is a professional do your cover. Pay the man! It is well worth it. Don't take a picture of your grandma and photo-shop her on the cover holding a bat. Start off with the right theme and feel of what your book is about and go from there.
Second, add a review or blurb on the front... something like: "Gripping... wonderful and spellbinding..." All well known authors do this and so should you.
Third. add some line at the top, a review or something where most bestsellers have the New York times ranking. Even if it is Book one of the ... something because people look for it and so it makes it better to say something here.
Forth, Don't listen to your friends... they will tell you it is amazing even if it sucks... you wrote a book and they didn't and they will feel weird telling you anything. Let another author see it or a publisher that has a history of good covers. Some of these small presses have bad covers on all their titles, might want to skip this one for advice.
Fifth, find the well known author that writes the same subject matter as you and mimic their style, don't copy it but see what they do and learn from it. The readers that read so in so will also be the readers you want. So, see what they look for and make your cover fit that mold and still be original.
Example: My readers and the author I look to is James Patterson for obvious reasons. Now his style is to have a BIG title, most take up half the book just with the title. And he has his name at the top and BIG as well. So, I did the same, Big title and author name, same type of font ect... So if a reader sees my books they will associate me with him, that is what I want because his readers are my readers.
The best place to find good advice on your cover is your local bookstore. The owner or a worker will know what sells and what does not. Show them and ask what they think your book is about and if they like the cover enough to want to buy the book. You will go a long way to take heed to these people, they know books and will be a great resource.
Here are some examples of good covers, notice the little things like a review and such...