How self-published authors can stop shooting themselves in the foot
A lot of self-published authors ruin the book they have worked so hard to create by thinking they can design their own cover. Many want to shoehorn in a lot of different images to represent the entire story forgetting that it is an advert, the most important advert that any potential reader will see, an advert that it is offer only displayed at the same size as your thumbnail.
A thumbnail size picture of a thumbnail
If it is hard to get the image right, fonts can be a bigger problem. Most authors who haven’t also studied graphic art at college don’t understand the difference they can make .
Book designer Simon Avery says fonts are a graphic designer’s secret weapon.
Outside of the hundred or so fonts available on publishing software, there are thousands of other fonts and every good designer has a big collection. Professional fonts cost anywhere from $10-$50 and I like to buy at least one new font for every book cover (this cost is included in my pricing). A good font can even appear hand-illustrated – such as on my cover for The Modigliani Girl by Jacqui Lofthouse.
You can read more about what a designer actually does on the Reedsy blog. Simon designed the cover to Back to Creative Writing School. It’s simple, eye-catching and works well at thumbnail size. At first I wasn’t keen on the pink so Simon sent me different versions using different colours. He was right: I was wrong. The pop of pink jumped out of the screen.
Has the cover contributed to the guide’s success? Without a doubt.
I don’t know much about design but I can spot an amateur cover a mile off (bet you can too). It screams lack of care and makes me think that what is inside the cover will also lack professionalism.
Book reviewer Rosie Amber has devised a five minute test which shows just how important a cover is in attracting a reader’s attention.
This is what she suggests you do:
1) Go to any online book supplier,
2) Randomly choose a category,
3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,
4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,
5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,
6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?
Read more on Rosie’s blog if you are thinking of self-publishing. It is a gentle lesson on how to give your book the best possible chance.