Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Cover that Will Make or Break Your Novel

Don't judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) this is exactly what people do. First, people check your cover and title - it's the first impression. Then, they check your blurb text. Without having these fine-tuned, people will not pick up your book.


So how do you make a novel cover?
1. Immediately communicate the genre of your book. Is it Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Horror? This should be clear from the start, or people interested in your topic might just go by it.
2. Create an emotional trigger. Is the novel cover of a person, and is or isn't she looking straight into the camera? What effect does this have?
3. If your book is part of a series, make this evident. Look at Harry Potter or the Twilight Saga: people know it's part of a series as soon as they look at it. (see below)

Harry Potter: all books have the same font and general
feeling to them, indicating they are part of a series



 
   
The Twilight Saga: Simple, high-contrast designs. All have the
same font and color palate to indicate they are part of a series















4. Make your cover unique. Let people know your book is of a certain genre, but make it stand out so people will choose yours rather than someone else's.
5. Quite simply, make your cover aesthetically pleasing. It should look good on a print book as well as on a postage-stamp sized Amazon thumbnail.
6. Make the cover design so that the reader's eyes naturally flow towards the title. Have a clear focal point.
7. Have good color contrast so it can be seen (and read) from far. The image quality should be good as well (and the typography should be clear and well-sized).
8. Use no more than two different fonts.
9. Keep it simple. You don't want to overpower your readers. Below are several examples of covers I personally found aesthetically pleasing.


It clearly portrays the loneliness of the
title by the simple design
Interesting and unique - catches the reader's
interest (+ great alliteration in the title)


Basic - not overwhelming
No overpower color blast and simple design


Intriguing, interesting and unique design
Unique typography, yet easy to read

But of course, there are many more! When making your cover, make sure to look at covers related specifically to your genre. And make sure your title works.

How to make a great title? (several tips to go with your cover)
  1. What is your story trying to say? Put this in minimal words and morph it into a title. 
  2. Make your title comment on the plot (ex: How to Disappear Completely, Pride and Prejudice) or on the characters (ex: The Other Boleyn Girl, Harry Potter, The Great Gatsby).
  3. Use an exact word/sentence/theme from your book.

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