A Novel Observed #26 – Judge A Book By Its Cover

While letting the first draft of No Time To Stand And Stare settle, it’s a good opportunity to get the cover sorted. Now, when I first started out writing, I assumed that covers were not that important – not compared to the book’s content. And, while that is certainly true in almost every sense, it doesn’t matter how great the content is if no one ever opens it and reads it.

This is where the cover comes in.

Why? Because everyone judges a book by its cover. Actually, let me qualify that a little. Everyone initially judges a book by its cover. And just in case you missed it:

Everyone initially judges a book by its cover

It’s a fact! And, no matter how many people claim that you should judge a book by its cover, it still remains a fact that everyone does. The addition of the ‘initially’ is because, once a person opens a book and starts reading, they can then judge it on its content. But before someone opens your book, they have to be attracted to it first.

So, a bunch of clipart and ‘Comic Sans’ text shoved onto a photo you got from Flickr is not going to cut it. Unless, of course, your aim is to keep people from reading your book, coz that’s what such a cover would end up doing.

Here’s a quick test. Which of these covers would actually make you want to buy the book, or at least download a sample?

Up Back Away Cover The Living End Cover The Broken Heart Diet The BBW and the Space Lord Cover Turning Grace Cover  Nobel Peace Prize Cover

(Any copyright infringement is unintended!)

These are all self-published works. The big difference between the top three (which are decent, attractive covers) and the bottom three (which are simply awful) is that the top ones were done by proper cover designers, people who actually spend their time doing this for a living.

I am not a book cover designers, and while I know what I like and which covers make me want to open up and have a read, I couldn’t tell you exactly what makes a good cover.

So, here’s my plan for producing the cover for No Time To Stand And Stare:

  1. Work out what I want on the cover
  2. Get the picture created by a proper artist
  3. Get the final cover put together by someone with cover skills

I’ll let you know how it goes…