How important is a book cover?
After all, what’s on the outside doesn’t affect what’s on the inside. Cover artists can be expensive, and a great story is still great regardless of packaging.
True, but . . . by extension, a potential reader’s expectation for a book’s content is very often created by the cover—this is especially true if the author is unknown or the reader has not heard of the book. From a reader’s perspective, the actual quality of the cover sets the tone for the anticipated quality of the story. As the saying goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” The cover makes that first impression.
Recently, I read that more than 2 million books were published (or re-published) in 2011. Another source stated that number to be in excess of 3 million. Talk about mind-boggling! Now couple that information with claims that the number of readers is dwindling each year. The challenge of marketing your book (or mine) becomes an almost unfathomable undertaking.
Whether a book sits on a shelf or table in a brick-and-mortar store or on a page in Amazon, bn.com, or your website, its cover is your emissary, your visual sales rep that “shouts” the virtues of your story, the frontrunner in your publicity strategy. In other words, its vital role in the sale of your book should never be underestimated.
Visit The 10 Awful Truths About Book Publishing to do a reality check on the current state of book sales and the publishing industry. Be sure to note the “cures” listed at bottom of the page. Then bear this in mind: Writers are creative thinkers. Marketing books requires creative thinking. Now don your thinking cap. Can you do this yourself? Some writers can. In fact, they do it very well. However, if you don’t have the wherewithal to market your books, learn how to do it—or hire someone who can. Then give that person an awesome product to peddle.
We’re back to book covers and first impressions. One book in a sea of 3 million? That’s somewhat intimidating. An outstanding book cover that stops the reader’s eye and makes him or her want to know more? The odds are getting better. Coupling a killer cover with an incredible story and great creative marketing—that’s a big head start on the road to becoming a best-selling author.
How do you feel about your book covers? Have you struggled with this aspect of becoming a successful published writer? Please share your experiences with us.
Writer/editor Linda Lane works with a team of editors/mentors whose goal it is to help writers write more effectively. Her new website, Linda’s Book Nook, should be operational by the end of the year. Not only will it offer books for sale, it will also feature serialized stories, short flash fiction contests (350 words or less), and a blog to address writers’ questions and issues. Writers will be invited to share experiences and to participate in this new author community.