It is said that a picture paints a 1000 words and no where is that more applicable than in the word of eBook publishing. An excellent eBook cover image is high on the list of priorities if you want to give your eBook any chance of success.
The cover you assign to your eBook will be the first contact prospective readers have with your “Author Brand” and the first impression they have of you and your work. Homemade is fine as long as you have some ability in the graphic design department, otherwise its best to leave this to someone with the appropriate skills and creativity.
But why is the cover so important?
Well, imagine browsing the shelves in your local bookstore; what is it a about a new book that attracts you first? Although you might be looking for a specific genre or author, beyond that it is the spine or cover of the book that attracts your attention and makes you take a closer look. So before you even pick it up, you are making judgements about its suitability for your purposes.
These judgements can then be confirmed by picking up the book and having a browse through the first few pages. Of course this option is also open to eBook buyers these days with free teaser sections now common on most titles. We will have a look at the importance of optimising your book for this in a later post. However, readers don’t usually get to that stage if they aren’t inspired or attracted by the cover image.
The cover of your eBook communicates a lot of information and you shouldn’t underestimate its importance. First of all the cover image communicates the books genre to prospective readers; have a look in your local bookstore to get a feel for this. It also tells the reader the specific topic of your book, the setting and maybe the mood. It helps and encourages the reader to connect with your book and perhaps more importantly with you as an author.
Earlier I mentioned your “author brand” and the book cover you choose can help you to build a following by contributing to this brand image. Just like a company or a product, you authors create a series of elemental connections in the minds of readers that go towards their subconscious image of those authors and the quality of their writing.
Think about the brands you like and align yourself with. In particular think about iconic brands where there is a lot more than good products and efficient service going on. Try to create a
brand for yourself that tells a story in itself, a feel good factor or an icon that people can connect with.
Think of Apple, Ikea or Volvo. These companies don’t just make and sell computers, furniture and cars, they tell a magnetic and compelling story that draws fans towards them, not just customers but real fans.
A great cover image communicates professionalism; it tells potential readers how serious you are about this book and about your attitude to writing generally. If you spend months drafting, re-writing and editing to make sure you are putting a great book out into the world, its a real shame if you don’t continue that on to the way the book looks and feels. Remember in the world of eBooks there are a lot of self published authors and some of the work out there isn’t great.
You need to rise above this stuff to even be given a chance, so again a professional looking cover will help you here.
The cover you end up with needs to do a few specific things. First of all it needs to be appropriate for your book’s content and subject material. It needs to communicate this quickly and effectively. This means your choice of colour scheme and typeface (font) and image is vitally important so make sure that these say what you want them to say.
It needs to be high enough quality and of the right dimensions to look good as a thumbnail image and again when clicked and expanded. The book’s title and author name need to be readable at thumbnail size and you need to make sure that the cover isn’t cluttered with too many words which might confuse potential readers.
If you take away just one piece of advice on this subject please make it this:
If you are even slightly doubtful that you can create a professional and eye catching cover image, sub-contract it to someone else who knows how to do it. This needn’t be expensive. We can usually put you in touch with someone who can produce a great image quickly for between $30-$100. It makes a lot of sense to do this.