I judge books by their covers. I can’t help it.

And I think you do too.

Being able to design my own book cover is one of the many reasons I’m leaning towards independent publishing. Books in my genre (comedy from a woman’s point of view) rarely get the respect they deserve when it comes to marketing. Silhouettes of ladies, a splash of Peptobismal pink, a cutesy handwritten title and you’re good to go.

In most circumstances, I would suggest writers not design their own covers. Why? Because the Lousy Book Covers Tumblr is a thing. It sums up what I mean and more. The thing is, I checked on some of these books and they have great reviews on Amazon. Can’t the writers tell their covers are terrible? So terrible that they are scaring away potential readers and losing out on book sales? Some of these covers make me think, “Have none of these people seen what a book even looks like?”

The only reason I feel confident about doing my own cover is because I’m a trained graphic designer with 3+ years of experience.

I was playing around with some ideas for my cover and decided to look on my bookshelf for some inspiration. I pulled some women’s fiction and quickly noticed a trend: no full faces. Isn’t that weird?! (photo above)

I assume this is done to let the reader imagine what the character looks like or even put themselves in the place of the character. That’s fine, but the trend is way overused.

When it comes to book covers, simplicity is the way to go. Check out these beauties on The Book Cover Archive. Notice how they don’t try to cram in too much into the cover? Many of the titles are nice and big so they can be read easily when the covers are small. If you’ve ever browsed books on Amazon, you know the cover images they display are really tiny.

When choosing a cover, you also have to think about your book’s genre. Otherwise, your reader might feel duped when they think they are buying one kind of book and end up reading another. (“What the heck?! I thought this was a murder mystery, not a romance!”)

What message does a poorly designed cover send to potential readers? It says, “I didn’t spend the money to hire a professional. Who knows? Maybe I didn’t spend the money to hire an editor either.” If you want your book to be treated like a professional product, you have to make it look like one, inside and out.

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