From Writers Helping Writers:
Do you remember being a child in a bookstore?
With shelves upon shelves of books around, you felt positively overwhelmed and full of anticipation. Hundreds of stories waited for you to take a peek behind their covers. And then, you stumbled upon a book that grabbed your attention. Your eyes were glued to its shiny surface. The colors, the art, the beautiful font — they were impossible to ignore. Without even opening the book, you already wanted to experience the world hidden inside.
That’s the cover every book deserves; it should evoke emotion, whatever the readers’ age.
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How Do People Decide which Book to Buy?
A few years ago, aspiring writer Gigi Griffis decided to conduct a little survey to figure out how avid readers pick new books. Here are her results:
- 85% said that they buy books of the authors they already loved
- A friend’s recommendation was the second most popular reason (77%)
- 47% and 48% respectively cited book sales and gorgeous cover art
These numbers confirm what we’ve already suspected: people stick with the familiar and they let their eyes guide them. Fortunately, a professional book cover can help us create that sense of familiarity while also attracting readers.
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Know Your Target Audience
Most of the time, readers already know what kind of a book they want. More specifically, they know the emotion they want to experience:
- I want to be scared
- I want to be thrilled
- I want to explore strange and captivating worlds
- I want to feel in love
For a cover to “hit” the target audience in just the right way, it’s primary purpose should communicate: This book has the feeling/vibe you’re looking for!
The first way we can accomplish this is through color.
People have strong, well-defined associations with color and temperature, smell, and emotions. A color can be warm, cool, wet, or dry. It can signal danger or imply coziness. An effective book cover should use associations like these to achieve the desired emotional result.
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Chip Kidd—a well-known and delightfully eccentric book cover designer—has said that his job in designing a cover is to ask: “What does the story look like?”
The imagery of your cover should answer this question while also communicating the book’s genre (which helps achieve that sense of familiarity). So don’t hesitate to follow the established canons of the genre. If the idea is common, masterful execution and a unique take can still make the visuals fresh
Link to the rest at Writers Helping Writers