A book cover is a promise
Some have called a book cover the face of a story. It is arguably one of the most important advertising tools an author has. Why is the cover important? Because a book cover is a promise to the reader on what they will find between the pages of the book.
Why is the cover important?
A book cover is so much more than a pretty picture. Studies have shown that the top two things that a reader looks at before deciding to read or buy a book are the title and the cover, with some saying the title is more important and others proclaiming the number one slot goes to the cover.
I think, in this day of online shopping, the winner is the cover. Have you ever wondered why book sold at grocery or department stores display their book flat on the shelf with the cover showing instead of saving valuable space by stacking them like you fine them at a library?
A visual age
We live in a visual age. We watch more movies, pay more video games, and shop online more than ever before in history. And this trend is ever increasing.
A good cover attracts readers and communicates the feel of the book. A great cover can sell a book solely on the cover itself. When care is taken choosing a cover, it communicates to the reader; this author has written a brilliant book.
The reader has the final say
Just as an excellent cover can sell books, a poor cover can convince the reader to choose another book. After all, this is a competitive marked. If the cover is inadequate, the reader may choose a poorly written book, thinking the nice cover reflects the content inside. Remember that the reader has the final say. You may be very creative and talented, but be strong enough to admit when other can do a better job.
Also, keep in mind that each genre has it’s own expected style. A few weeks ago, I was asked my opinion on a cover for a book from a new author. The cover was beautiful. She had done a wonderful job. But the cover didn’t match the genre. It looked like the story inside would be a mystery or an adventure. But it wasn’t. It was a romance. A reader that picked it up, believing it to be an adventure, would be disappointed when they found mushy romance instead.
An excellent cover can sell a book
A book with a cover depicting the wrong genre may be beautifully written, but the reader would be likely to give a bad review because they were expecting something different. The author broke a promise by creating a cover that said the inside differed from what the cover said it would be.
As an Indi author, I recommend spending your money on two things when publishing a book: The cover, and the editing.
You can find both at a reasonable price, but take your time and evaluate each designer by the work they have done in the past.
Look at other work the designer has done.
Look at covers of others in your genre.