The Importance of Having a Good Book Cover (Part 1 of 2)

Potential readers judge a book by its cover. Everyone does; anyone who says otherwise is lying. The first thing anyone sees is the cover and if it’s attractive and gives the reader an idea of what the book is about, they’ll pick it up. Then they read the blurb. Then they flick through it. If your book passes all those tests, then they may even read or buy it.

Say your work is fantastic. Literary perfection. Best book ever. Stick a crappy cover on it and most likely it will never attract many readers and definitely not the reader base it deserves.

One of the pitfalls I had when I first started on Wattpad was lack of a good cover. I had no knowledge in image manipulation. I was arty, but my medium was traditional: acrylic, oil, watercolour, pencils etc. The only image manipulation program I used was Paint. How on earth was I going to get a nice cover with any of those?

Seeker: The Challenge was the first complete story I wrote and the first one I posted on Wattpad, and my god was the first attempt at making a cover awful. The same goes for The Windcaster.

*cringes into a prune and dies* Seeker looked more like a horror cover, and not in a good way, either. I have no idea what The Windcaster originally was. Thank you, Powerpoint, for those fonts.

The issue with these covers is that they are boring (and aesthetically really displeasing). They don’t give any indication as to what they’re about. If it’s a romance book, usually you have a couple embracing or a couple standing close by. If it’s a horror book, there’s something dark and scary. If it’s fantasy, it’s colourful and magical. I suppose with some stretch of imagination, the Seeker cover seems more like a mystery and The Windcaster seems water-related.

Maybe.

The end result is that the books are not attractive, so people are less likely to click on it. They don’t know what the story is about at a quick glance, so they don’t click on it. Against hundreds or thousands of other books, it won’t be eye-catching. Never mind the quality of the writing within, if the covers can’t catch the attention of a potential reader, they will never give the contents a change but skip to something else instead. Yes, it’s the story that matters the most, but if you can’t get over the initial hurdle, you can have the best story in history and nobody will come across it.

I tried to adapt it to what I am good at (which is not image manipulation). I did some covers by hand.

The left is the second cover for Rise of the Vengeful Dragon. They took me freaking forever and left me with a cricked neck, and although I’m pleased with how they turned out from a traditional art point of view, it still wasn’t enough. The issue was that when condensed to a 256×400 size, they just all mushed together into one. It was hard to distinguish the details and differentiate words from background/foreground.  I needed a cover that was clear, clean, and eye-attracting.

I did have some compliments on the pastel appearance of The Windcaster, which drew them to click on it, though. That pleased me.

In the continuation post, I’ll talk about how this was rectified.

 

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2 thoughts on “The Importance of Having a Good Book Cover (Part 1 of 2)

  1. Most interesting to me has been how allegedly professional websites get it so damned wrong. I look at wedding photographers’ sites nearly every day for work, and so many of them, while the images are gorgeous, haven’t a clue about design. How many times have I seen tiny print, or hard to read script fonts, or little to not color contrast? Plus regular old web design issues such as making it impossible to find a phone number, etc.

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    • This is why with all things to get a professional if you can xD get a designer for a book cover and website designer for a website… I’d rather hire a plumber to do my plumbing than do it myself, haha.

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