Many authors write fantastic books. Books are easily skipped over in a competitive market. Successful authors know their book cover has to appeal.
Do you have a book cover that just isn’t selling your book? Are you launching a book and want to give its best chance of success? Many authors spend hours writing their book, only to have it fail because the cover doesn’t appeal to readers.
Successful authors know what part their book cover plays in the buying process, and how to leverage the cover to their book’s best advantage.
This book teaches you to analyse the genre you write in, discover what readers are buying and why, and to how to nail the type of cover that will subconsciously appeal to a potential reader.
You only have micro-seconds to stand out from the crowd. Don’t leave your book cover to chance. Deliver the kind of cover that will engage readers and give your book the best chance of success.
I began my career as a fine artist in ceramic design. Not a great choice for financial independence, but at my tender age and bohemian heart, making money for art seemed rather vulgar. That was until I needed money for petrol, rent, electricity, food and the supplies to make my art.
I decided very quickly to look to the market place, that great place of consumerism, and make art that people wanted to buy. To my surprise, I was quite successful at it. Shop owners made window displays with my work, shops over Melbourne stocked my pieces and commissioned orders. I held exhibitions and showcased my work. It was my first taste of looking into the marketplace for inspiration, and I loved it. I was hooked. It was a concept I wanted to further explore.
At that stage, Apple macs and the associated graphic design programs were starting up. Before these programs, artwork was painstakingly created using bromides waxed art boards and tweezers. I had my taste of those as well. However, the computer programs held an appeal.
I hitched up my design pants, learned the programs and burst into the world of commercial art. I started way, way down at the bottom of the heap, and the learning curve was steep. Different to creating what was in my heart for the day, I had to think along new lines. Everything created was for a specific purpose. It had to be created in new and eye-catching ways, but the artwork had to meet a purpose for its existence.
There was a unique lesson every day. Flyers, corporate identities, logos, packaging, advertising, magazines, newsletters – you name it, I did it. The world of consumerism had me in its clutches, and yet I longed to learn more.
Why did people buy what they did? How did they make their choices from one product over another? How were new products created, brought into a marketplace, appropriately priced and sold to the consumer? How was it all done?
So I set out to learn, and while working full time as a graphic artist, I studied part time for my graduate diploma in marketing. I had all of these questions answered – along with a few others that I didn’t necessarily know I wanted answered. Statistics. Accounting. Forecasting. Extremely useful information, but… shudder.
My career morphed into the arena of marketing. Marketing communications to be exact. I moved from marketing co-ordinator to manager, then started my own business in advertising, marketing and design.
I extended myself even further. Building my business and nurturing clients. Another lesson in a different sort of consumerism in itself. I worked in all different industries – business to business, industrial, FMCG, small and large businesses, global corporations, new start-ups, committees and government.
Even celebrity endorsements. I ran campaigns with both small and huge budgets and used every communication channel out there. It was a magic time in my career. But, as things tend to happen, my focus changed with the birth of my children.
All the time, while working eighty hour weeks and going here, there and everywhere, was the simmering urge to write. It had never really gone away from when I was a teenager where I would spend half the night filling notebooks and falling in love with my imaginary boyfriend. (Safest boyfriend I ever had).
And so it happened, when I was trying to urge the baby to sleep at some long forgotten time of the morning, I picked up a book my mother had dropped off to me that day. A time travel romance. Well, I forgot all about sleep deprivation and cracked nipples. My world was altered. I devoured anything Avon had to offer. Time travel. Regency. Historical. Paranormal. Suspense. Erotic. My mother didn’t give me those. Tsk. Tsk.
As I devoured those books, my memories resurfaced. My need ignited. That deep, deep urge to write. I realised that, maybe now, I could give it a crack. I acted on that desire and jotted down a few pages, and by doing that, I was hooked.
I joined the local writers group at the library, joined the RWA, started my own writers group and wrote and wrote and wrote. Not everything was good. Let’s face it, more often than not, it wasn’t good. But that wasn’t the point. I was exploring a passion. I was nurturing my desire. I carefully stoked that deep desire to write and improve and work hard at something I loved. Again, I was creating – just books this time. And what a rollercoaster adventure it is!
After lots of hard work and many rejections, I was published by four publishers, which was fantastic and I’ll always be grateful that they took that leap of faith in my books enough to pay for an editor and work hard at polishing them up so that they were suitable for the virtual shelves. Another lesson in itself, and a process I learnt so much from.
I decided to flex my creative muscles further and explore the world of self-publishing. My books won’t set the world on fire – I wish! – but the process allows me to use the sum of all of my experiences in design, advertising, marketing towards something I love doing. It has taken me to another level altogether.
I get to study the world of readers, try to work out what books they want to read and supply them in a way that is attractive to them. No mean feat. Book marketing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s the reverse of any proven marketing method I’ve ever put together. You think you’ve got something right and the next it changes. You need to tweak and tweak and tweak.
In any other market, if someone came to me and said they wanted to produce a new product into a saturated market place and sell it for way below its worth and for no return, I’d do my best to talk them out of it.
But that’s not the point of writing books, is it? It’s a passion you can’t put a price on. It has me mesmerised. It’s a nut I’m having fun cracking. All aspects of it.
With book marketing, I can use the sum of all of my working experiences doing something I love. So I’ve decided to write this book about creating book covers to maximise exposure in a crowded marketplace.
A book cover is such a complex piece of packaging. It has me fascinated. But, just any other packaging design, some are shockers and don’t fulfil what it takes to do its job – that of attracting the eye and making a sale – and some are absolutely fabulous.
But, how and why do these designs work or not, and how can you have a better chance of making your book cover work when you don’t have a designer’s eye?
Book cover design is a process. It’s my hope, that with this book, that the information I’ve written will give you a course of action in which you can discern what might work or not, whether or not you have an artist’s/designer’s eye. It’s not airy, fairy stuff. The methods I outline are founded on age old concepts and solid experience.
Through this book, I hope to banish the world of bad book cover design, and give you to tools to discern what makes a cover ‘on target’. To save you time and money and accepting bad design that will do nothing to help you sell your book, to a cover that will be your number one defence in the complex process that is book marketing.
Thank you for reading this book. I truly hope I’ve helped you in your endeavours. Charmaine.