The English metaphor “You can’t judge a book by its cover” was coined by, in all honesty, a bunch of losers who didn’t want to put their best foot forward in life. The phrase served as a cozy little shield in which the ne’er do wells could hide behind as they were judged for their outlandish and irreverent behavior. In today’s world of the fast-paced do or die mentality, it’s unfortunate that in many instances, for the sake of our very livelihood (family, career, etc..) we must be forced into judging “books by their cover.” Sadly, we don’t have time to find out if a potential employee is just a big teddy bear on the inside or an emotional ticking time bomb.
The very same can be said about book covers, in the literal sense. We as humans, respond to image a lot faster than we do with words. Madison Avenue figured that out a long, long time ago. So, with that in mind, added to the fact that writers are also book buyers, why wouldn’t they know the difference between a good book cover from a bad one? Surely they have passed over a book themselves in favor of one that was much more appealing to the eye. So why on Earth would they go with a poorly designed cover to represent their work?
Cost may very well be a factor, but in today’s very competitive self-publishing world, it’s easier than ever to search out a reasonable-priced cover designer. One with a reputable track record that is.
Another reason may be, that the self-published author may labor under the delusion that he or she may be more tech savvy than they actually are. Affordable design and photoshop software is fun to play around with. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s best to leave the design work to someone who employs a vast knowledge of graphic design.
Pre-designed templates (on CreateSpace, LuLu, etc..) are popular with self-published authors as well. The problem with these? Other authors are using the same designs, and with thousands of authors a month using these services, chances are you (worse—a consumer) are going to come across an author’s work with a similar theme or design. Don’t believe us? Look at the similar book covers below.
Despite feasibility and lack of design skills, your work (and potential readers) deserves the best cover possible. After all, you spent so much time and energy laboring over your manuscript, why shouldn’t your project benefit from an eye catching cover that you’ll be proud of? An attractive cover is your book’s handshake to the reader. If cost is a factor, perhaps you should hold off publishing until you can afford a good design artist. Don’t just rush your work out into the world simply because you’re finished writing. There’s more to book selling than just throwing it out there. Take your time and be sure that the finished work is how you envisioned it at conception.
Visit us at Ocean View Press
A few examples of poorly-designed book covers.