Blog Post

All Covered Up

Congratulations! You’ve finished your manuscript and now you’re ready to get your book into other people’s hands.
Have you thought about your cover?

How important is a cover, anyway?
Seriously. Isn’t the story the actual focus? Why put so much time and energy into the outside when what we what others to see is the inside?

Around 868 A.D, a Buddhist book from Dunhuang, The Diamond Sutra, was printed with a method known as block printing. They used panels of hand-carved wood blocks. This book is said to be the oldest known printed book. Before the printed book, books were handwritten.

c. 700; Front cover of St Cuthbert Gospel
the binding is made of goatskin. It is the earliest known Western binding.

Even with the introduction of the printed book, the process was tedious. Books were rare and expensive, so it only made sense to take special care of them. The cover was important because it protected the precious pages inside.
Covers were thought only as an outer cover of protection, not as a marketing tool.

When did it become so important to make the outside as important as the inside?
We are such visual people these days. It’s a reflection of our whole society.

It’s a sad fact that we look at the outside to judge the inside.
Sad, but true. And for a book, it’s of the utmosts impotence.
We are used to having eye candy these days, and as much as I’d like to explore this subject, it not the message of this post.

The fact it, the outside is the first glimpse others have of your book. If you wander into a book store, especially if it’s an online store, the first deciding factor of buying your book, it what they see… the cover.

A pleasing cover leads to examining the title, which leads to reading the description. These are the deciding factors before punching a book. It’s our nature to what the brightest and shiniest. We automatically gravitate toward what pleases us the most.

In the past, authors didn’t need to entice others to read their work. Books were an enticement enough. It’s not that way anymore, they are too prevalent and easily obtained, Now we need to convince others that our work is worthy of their time and money. Our cover needs to be better than the last one they looked at. It needs to pop. It needs to call out to them and beg them to continue.

How do we do this?
I highly recommend having a professional cover created for your book.
This may be the most vital part of marketing and selling your book. A professional knows the market and what covers most appeals to what audience. A cover that works for an adventure won’t work for a romance or a mystery. It’s important to be eye candy to the person you’re trying to reach. Yes, we can research too, but they are in the moment. Often when we research, we are reading what has worked, not what works now.

If the buyer never takes that second look, if they never get past the cover and into the description, then putting that book in their cart, then all the hard work we put into writing the manuscript, goes nowhere.
Our goal is to be the book they have to buy… to become irresistible.

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2 thoughts on “All Covered Up

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. I have made two books so far. One cover I loved, but the other cover left a bad taste in my mouth. I tried to get what I wanted from the designer, but things didn’t go my way. I should have made more of a fuss. Now I have to live with it. Lesson learned!

    1. You do need to speak up when working with someone, they be a great designer and just don’t realize you had something else in mind.
      Speaking up is hard for me too, but I’m learning it has to be done.

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