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We’ve all heard the old saying, “you can’t tell a book by its cover.” Maybe so, but you sure can sell one if the cover is good. This past week has been all about book covers in my world. I’ll reveal mine for my upcoming novel, Return to Sender, soon. Meanwhile, I thought some info on covers was a good idea.
Last September I had the pleasure of walking through the breathtakingly beautiful Lauterbunnen Valley in Switzerland with Sally A. Nemeth who is the Owner/Senior Graphic Designer at SallyAnne Design, a freelance marketing and publication design firm in Kansas City, MO. And so I asked her to do a guest post about book covers. Here’s Sally….
You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but …
… the cover is the first thing your reader sees, make it work for you.
If you are designing your own cover:
1. Choose an image (photo or illustration) that reflects the content of the story. It should entice the reader to open the book, but not give away the ending. 😉
2. Pay attention to copyright. While it may seem that an image is “free” because you found it on the internet, that’s not the case. There are many, reasonably-priced stock photo companies that can provide you with an image that is royalty-free and keep you out of trouble. (istockphoto.com, shutterstock.com, thinkstock.com, etc.)
3. While it’s possible to run type over an image, be careful, it’s tricky. It’s important that your reader doesn’t have to hunt for your title and name. If you’re a novice, start with type on a plain background.
4. Create a hierarchy with your type. The largest type for the title, followed by a smaller descriptive phrase, tagline, etc., and end with the author’s name. Keep the copy together, not floating in different places on the cover, it will be easier for the reader to identify.
5. Don’t use more than two typefaces. A decorative typeface is fine for the title, but use a simpler typeface for the tagline and author’s name. This will create a nice contrast and help lead the eye through the text.
6. Save detailed information and bios for the back cover.
7. If you need help, hire a graphic designer to create the cover for you.
Note: If you are short on funds, check with local universities that offer graphic arts programs. Students needing samples for their portfolio, will often create excellent artwork for a smaller fee plus expenses and a credit line on the back cover.
Submitted by Sally A. Nemeth, Senior Graphic Designer
Sally A. Nemeth is the Owner/Senior Graphic Designer at SallyAnne Design, a freelance marketing and publication design firm in Kansas City, MO. With over 25 years experience, Sally creates newsletters, logos, book and magazine covers, posters, annual reports and other marketing collateral. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org –
This seemed to be the most appropriate cover of Sally’s to use as a sample. Happy Memorial Day Weekend.
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