What is the saying again? A picture is worth a thousand words? What if your novel is 80,000 words? Is the picture (cover) you've chosen worth 80,000 words? If it isn't, readers will not be drawn to your book, buy it, read it and possibly review it!
Andrea and I recently helped a client choose an illustrator for her cover, and we faced the same issues we face each time we search for the perfect cover for a client's book. So, I thought we would try and answer the question:
What makes a successful cover for YOUR self published book?
It would be great if the answer to this question was as simple as taking a picture of your favorite waterfall, typing the title of your book in any open space, and adding your name as the author towards the bottom in somewhat smaller font...but it's not. Although picture, title and author are key components, their position, size and meaning are vital. You may even need slightly different covers for electronic and physical versions of your book to account for thumbnails vs. competition for attention in bookstores.
Let's consider the key parts.
~ Title/Author. If you have had more than one edit - content and copy - your initial title may well have changed during this process. Therefore, the key elements you want your title and cover to convey may have also changed. You must also consider what style font you wish to use for both title and author, and whether the text will share or compete for attention with an image. I wouldn't suggest assigning your ISBN, designing your cover or blogging/networking about your new book until you have completed edits and are relatively sure of the exact title.
~ The Picture/Background. Your favorite waterfall may have very little, if anything to do with the content of your book. Therefore, if you want a picture on your cover, the first thing you must consider is graphic arts or illustration. Each has a unique look and feel as illustrated below.
The Harry Potter book is a drawing/illustration. The Of Poseidon book is created using Graphic Arts. Either way, you need to convey to the artist creating your cover the feeling you want a reader to have when they initially see your book. A good cover artist will be sure there is enough non-essential space available for your title and author name to stand out, and that all elements come together to create an outstanding representation of the work your cover protects and advertises.
I can't wait to share our latest client's book cover with you, as the illustrator is amazing, but first, all the above details must be worked out.
What were the key components you wanted your book cover to show a potential reader? How did you ensure it would entice a possible reader to click or pick up your book? Please share!
~Mary Kathryn Johnson
Author ~ Entrepreneur ~ Mom
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Say Bump and Take a Left
Several years ago, a multilingual friend of mine expressed his frustration with the English language, calling it too limiting due to the lack of word choices that best described what he was trying to say.
Unfortunately, I’m not multilingual, so I wasn’t able to relate to him. Perhaps part of the problem is that our culture has changed from one of learning and using language as an art form and increasing our vocabulary so that our writing has more complexity, richness, and poetic tones. Today, we’re faced with sound bites, taglines, poor grammar (if any grammar) and snippets of partial words, all thanks to texting and social media.
Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with these new communication tools, but I believe books like the Harry Potter series have something really important to teach us. J.K. Rowling has become the first billionaire author, and although adults love her works, they were originally written for prepubescents. Even though it belongs to the fantasy genre with lots of action and adventure, The Harry Potter Series still maintains a form of writing found in timeless classics such as Winnie the Pooh, or Alice in Wonderland. Many books written with a casual tone can become popular, but will they really stand the test of time, or just flicker out like most trends? Especially, when the lifecycle of a trend is becoming increasingly shorter, I wonder if these casual-toned books are destined to become outdated before we’ve even finished reading them? The overwhelming popularity of Harry Potter tells me that both adults and children alike are starving for not only a good story, but one told in a way that allows them to expand their minds with a meatier palate, not just consume mental junk food.
My friend made his statement about the English language before the Harry Potter series was published. I'll have to ask him if he still feels the same.
Do you find your speech and writing changing with the current trend toward a casual use of the English Language?
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