Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Cover that Grabs--An Author You Know

You must have a cover that grabs and be an author she knows as well or this reader will not buy your book. That's what I just read in a post from one of my e-mail lists. How does a little-known author get through to a potential reader with opinions like that? Are most readers unlikely to buy an author she/he doesn't know? That's discouraging news for an author trying hard to gain recognition and readership.

What characteristics do the best covers have in common? How do you attract readers if you are an unknown author? I would love to learn the views of others.

Mary Montague Sikes
Secrets by the Sea


Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I know what you mean - at my book signing today I received lots of good comments about the cover of my book but people are still hesitant to spend big bucks on an untested author. I think new authors have to keep plugging and smiling at every opportunity and hope for the best.

Jane Kennedy Sutton
Author of The Ride

BillieJohn said...

This is why things like newsletters, appearances at conferences and other venues, blog posting and a fresh website are so valuable. These are all ways to make the potential book buyer feel he/she knows the author, has some shared experience, interest or opinion.

Again, I compare books to movies. If you are looking for a movie to see, what is your reaction to a film whose stars, director, producer and writers are people whose name you've never heard? If you are trying to choose between a cast of unknowns and a George Clooney/Julia Roberts film, what is your most likely choice?

This is the point I was trying to make with my earlier post about my niece and the Janet Evanovich book. Evanovich has spent years making herself known to readers. Now, when a new title comes out, it isn't just a book, but more like catching up with an old friend.


F. M. Meredith, author said...

A good cover definitely helps. We heard at the PSWA conference that yellow was the color that most attracted book buyers. Don't know if that's so or not.

For me, I like covers that aren't too busy--also not fond of covers with people on them though I've had covers with same.


Bob Sanchez said...

What makes a good cover? I can only guess, but I think it needs to be professionally done and must reflect the flavor and spirit of the book. For my first novel, I told the publisher my specific concept for the cover, and they assigned a graphic artist to carry it out. Public response has been good.

Bob Sanchez

Chester Campbell said...

A good cover definitely helps. It attracts the reader's eye and gets them interested. But I've had my share of those bookstore customers who say "I've never heard of him" and walk on with noses high. You just ignore them and keep smiling and chatting with those who don't hold such prejudices against new authors.

Joy said...

In children's picture books, it can grab a child to the point that they beg their parent to buy the book. Of course, these are a quick read so the parent can open it up, look at the pictures and make a decision to buy or not to buy.
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conarnold said...

The cover is often what grabs a reader's attention, having a name that is known is a big plus, and what is written on the back cover also often is the deciding factor on whether or not to buy.

kriswaldherr said...

I think having a great cover design is *really* important. So often my interest in a book is dulled by a badly designed cover, or one that uses inappropriate stock art and cheesy typography.

It's that old adage of a picture having a thousand words. What is your cover saying? It's so important to have the cover professionally designed -- it really does make a difference.

Also great book descriptions which sets out a unique and irresistable premise. If a book "speaks to my condition", I will buy it even if it's by an unknown author. But so many book descriptions seem so generic, that I'm unclear what makes this book different from another.

Blurbs and reviews help too, though those can be difficult to get.