Why Total Book Cover Design Matters in Publishing

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Regardless of how many times we tell ourselves not to judge a book by its cover, that’s exactly what we do when shopping for our next read. Indeed, that’s all potential readers have to guide them because it is unrealistic to assume they have the time, energy, or desire to pick up every book on the shelf and give it a chance. 

An appealing cover will instantly draw someone’s eye, making them more likely to pick up your book and pore over the back cover. This, of course, puts them one step closer to buying your work. That’s why the visual design of your book—the spine and the front and back covers—is critical for convincing potential readers to reach for their credit cards. If you’re having a hard time with your cover, we can design it for you.

The Front Cover

Artists don’t usually like thinking about marketing, but a book’s front cover is all about making a sale because it’s essentially its face. It’s what will compel a potential buyer to flip it over and scan the back or prompt them to put it back on the shelf. Even if you’re publishing an eBook, the front cover is what will make it stand out from the crowd. 

Your front cover should say something about the story you’re telling, hinting at what readers can expect from the content inside. For instance, if your story is set in a sci-world, you want to make sure your cover reflects that. It should tell readers something about your world, characters, and/or theme. A cover that seems unrelated to or even divorced from the genre of your book will confuse readers, and they will be less likely to give your work a chance. 

If your story is intended to be highly dramatic, for example, having a brightly colored cover with a Comic Sans font will throw readers off. Using powerful yet simple imagery that connects to the genre is key to attracting audiences, but a strong composition is just as important. The more compelling your book cover is, the more likely a reader is to buy it. 

The Book Spine

Though we usually think about the front cover of a book when we’re considering its design, the spine is just as important, if not more, as it’s usually the first time a potential customer will see your title. 

Also, many stores will display books with the spine out rather than the front cover due to limited shelf space, so the spine can be your only shot at drawing someone’s attention to your book. 

A blank or uninspired spine is exceptionally boring, and readers will not be drawn in by a book that doesn’t stand out from the crowd. The more striking the spine is, the more likely a potential reader will be to take it off the shelf, so make sure you put as much thought into the spine as into the rest of your design.

The Back Cover

Once you’ve drawn a reader in with your spine and front cover, the next thing they’ll do is look at the back. This is your chance to offer enough information to pique their curiosity further and reassure them that this eye-catching book will be just as good on the inside as it is on the outside. You want your front cover and your back cover to mesh well. The design should be similar, and both should fit the world and tone of your story.  

From blurbs to short bios, your back cover must be informative, persuasive, and cohesive with the rest of the book’s design. Despite what some may say, looks definitely matter in publishing. Don’t let a drab cover be the reason your book fails to sell as many copies as it can. If you’re more of a writer than a designer, consider hiring a professional to work on your book cover design. 

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