We work hard to make the content of our books just right. But the first thing any potential reader sees is the book’s cover. If that potential reader does not find the cover compelling, she or he will never pick up (or click on) the book and find out how wonderful it might be. A great cover can’t carry a bad book, but a great book (at least if it’s by an unknown writer) will never be discovered without a great cover.
I can’t even imagine how many books I’ve read that I wouldn’t have if their covers hadn’t called me to learn more about what lay behind them. Certainly, I’ve read plenty of books based on the recommendations of friends or due to reviews or because they’ve reached the best seller lists. But all those books I just discovered on my own? Yep, I first picked them up because of their covers.
That’s why, as Cher’ley Grogg pointed out in her blog post from earlier this month, book covers need to be eye-catching and to pack an emotional punch. A cover also has to convey some specific information such as:
- The genre of the book
- The book’s target age group
- The mood or feel of the book
Readers are looking for specific types of books. Your book is looking for a specific type of audience. Your cover is the bridge between your book and its readers. The cover communicates to your target audience that this is a book written for them.
Later this year, I will be releasing the second volume of my Light-Bringer series, A Gift of Shadows. In preparation for the book’s release, I’ve not only had a cover designed for Shadows, but I’ve gotten a new cover for the first volume, A Gift of Wings. The current cover speaks to the relationship between Light and Dark that is at the heart of the novel, but it doesn’t readily convey the book’s genre (urban fantasy), its target age group (New Adult/Young Adult), or its feel. If I want to reach my target audience, I need a cover that communicates all those things.
I now have one that does that. 🙂 And, today, blogger extraordinaire L. Marie is hosting a Makeover Party for A Gift of Wings. Please pop over to her website, take a look at the stunning new cover (designed by cover artist and fantasy writer Ravven), and check out L. Marie’s interview with me. If you leave a comment on L. Marie’s post, you’ll get a chance to win a copy of the made-over book. Also, please check out Ravven’s website for some more of her beautiful designs and for some very informative posts about the process of designing a book cover.
Have you experimented with multiple covers for a book? If so, what did you learn?
Connect with Stephanie Stamm:
Stephanie Stamm is the author of the New Adult/Young Adult urban fantasy A Gift of Wings. (She is working on the sequel.)
She has also contributed stories (one fictional and one true) to the following volumes: