Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hug a Cover Artist Today

I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I find myself buying a book because I just love the way it jumps off the shelves in front of the rest. I’ve also found myself declining a book too because it doesn’t look like something I’d prefer…just by glancing at its cover.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good or awful your story is. If the cover doesn’t draw in a crowd, no one will pause to read the blurb or the excerpt. I find it amazing how little information we give cover artists--maybe two or three pages filled out on a cover art request form for an 80,000-word manuscript-- they’re able to get just the right scene for our stories.

Here’s all the things I can think up that needs to be on the cover of a book.

Title: Sometimes even the font in which the title is written can tell a lot about that story. I’ve noticed a lot of Science fiction stories have a similar font on their titles.

Author: Of course you need your personal brand on there.

Genre: You can usually tell by a mere glance whether it’s romance, mystery, horror, adventure, and so forth.

Mood: If it’s a dark, scary story or a fun, comedic tale, the cover will reveal all.

Who: If there’s one, or two, or more main characters, you can typically discover that by how many people fill a cover. You can tell if it’s an adult or young adult novel by the age of the models too.

When: Is it a historical? Futuristic tale? Present day? Does the story take place in summer or winter? That’s another revelation the cover can disclose.

Where: Small town, big city, one end of the globe to the other, or even in another galaxy, that cover is going to let readers know before they glance at a single word.

Reviews & Taglines: Sometimes, covers will even claim the author as a bestseller or it'll provide a review to guarantee it’s a worthy read. And sometimes it’ll have a catchy little tagline to draw you in further.

And all that goes on a single-inch by single-inch cover.

A picture really is worth a thousand words, and we authors depend on our cover artists to fit our entire story into one. In the next couple of months, I expect to receive the cover for my next Champagne story, The Right to Remain Mine, and I have to tell you, I’m very excited to see it. It’ll be like opening a present on Christmas morning whenever it comes.

What are some of your favorite cover art features?


Marie Rose Dufour said...

The picture on the cover does it for me. It had to jump off the shelf or virtual shelf at me. I know that's not a good thing because I could be missing some wonderful stories because the cover doesn't "float my boat".

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

We eat with out eyes and we read with our emotions. A cover does sell a book. In my case it may not bury it for me if I've read a good review first. Some bookcovers are subliminal, like the cover for THE HELP. You have to analize it to see why it's a winner along with the book and movie. So far I've had great cover art for all of my books. Great cover artists are a gifted bunch. Thanks everybody!

Big Mike said...

Luv it when I see what the artist has done with my cover data. Always gives me chills with how they capture the essence of the story with one picture.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year, (2008 and 2009)

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I'm a visual person so I absolutely love seeing the covers of books. And you're right - the artists deserve a big hug!

Linda Rettstatt said...

I love a cover that captures the essence of the story. Of course, you don't always know that until you've read the book. For me, covers have to be eye-catching and fit the genre. Less can be more, and I'm not drawn to covers that are too busy or cluttered.