Friday, August 28, 2009

Cover Design: How The Right Cover Design Affects Sales

By Phillip Crum

Cover design is a creative endeavor and thus a very subjective area. One person might love a cover design while another will think it’s way off the mark. If everyone has a different opinion about a possible cover design, how do you choose a design that gives your self-published masterpiece a true chance at success?

First, the design has the reflect the book’s contents. You might be surprised how many self-publishing authors are not aware of this. Yes, your book’s cover needs to be attractive and eye-catching, but not at the expense of confusing those who are looking to buy it. A cook book should not have the image of freeway traffic on the cover nor should a book about white water rafting have a cover with images of a pet store. When self-publishing, it’s important to minimize your artwork and maximize your message.

Book publishing is all about image and your cover is no exception. Let’s take a book about bicycling for example. An obvious choice would be a person sitting on their bike, adjusting their helmet as they get ready for a ride. But you could also choose an image of a bicycle wheel with spokes or a bike racing jersey arranged with a water bottle and riding gloves as your cover image. They all convey a different message. The first could be about riding as a personal activity, the second (the picture of the wheel) could be about bike maintenance and the third cover, about competitive racing.

The next consideration is what text (words) should appear on the cover. Obviously, you want to include the title of your book, but the cover is a good place for a subtitle as well. When self-publishing, many authors fail to create a subtitle. It’s a great opportunity to provide more information about what your book is all about and a well-written subtitle can increase sales. When designing the cover for your self-published book, don’t forget to include your name! You want to be noticed and recognized and have your name associated with your book as its author. And someone wanting to buy your book may only know (or remember) your name. Finally, for the cover, you might consider including a few bullet points, information about what’s inside or include a banner that tells of a special offer to those who purchase your book. Book publishing is all about delivering a message in the most effective way possible.

Don’t forget the back cover and the spine. The back cover typically includes a bio of the author, testimonials from those who have read the book, and other descriptive subtitles. If you are marketing your self-published book to be sold in retail stores, you must include a box for your UPC sales code. Typically, these boxes are white, approximately 2” by 2” and located near the bottom margin of the back cover.

Finally, take care when designing the spine of your book. Your book will probably spend a good part of its life on a shelf with other books so make sure your book’s title can be easily read from a distance.

When you self-publish, it’s important that you follow these guidelines. People do judge a book by its cover!

Phillip Crum is the Chief Idea Officer of MarketingMeasure located at 2414 Arbuckle Court Dallas, TX 75229, and is committed to the idea of helping small business owners do a better job of finding their next customer or client. He and his two sons,Tyler and Preston, also own a Sir Speedy Printing franchise and employ those additional capabilities in the overall marketing services menu of offerings. Phillip can be reached at 214-213-7445, or

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