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The Importance of Book Covers: Good is Important! and Changing Perceptions

Good is Important!

By the way, all images used are from freedigitalphotos.net. ALL the credit and copyright goes to them!

Without good book covers, many amazing books would not be discovered. The cover is the first thing we see, whether we’re looking online or in a shop. If the cover’s not good, we usually move on. We impulsively pick up good covers, even if the title is awful. Sometimes good covers hide bad books. But either way, we go for the best covers. What if The Hunger Games had a cover like this? Would you buy it?

So as you can see, a good book cover is very important. If THG had that (horrible) cover, it would undoubtedly receive millions of less sales. It wouldn’t be the popular and mega-selling book it is today. It’s all down to the covers. But, once a book has become popular, it can change its covers however many times it likes. People buy the book whichever cover it has (mostly!).

This is especially important for self-published books. Since they don’t have teams of professional designers working day in, day out to make a great cover they have to settle with a) finding an organisation to do it for them or b) doing it themselves. Let’s take an example of a made-up book called ‘Fitting In’. It’s about an English girl who goes to an American school and tries to fit in, but she’s a little bit weird and has a dark secret that could potentially change the world. (Not the best idea, but it doesn’t matter too much about what the book’s about.)

Let’s say someone has read the synopsis and NOT seen the cover. Then they see one of these covers. Depending on which cover they see, they’ll probably buy or not buy the book. The first cover is this, not very good, effort. (By the way, the author’s name is completely made up and random, and it’s pretty stupid!!!)

Not very good is it? The images are intergrated badly and it’s just too much. The writing also seems very amateur and the font doesn’t look good on this cover. There is a tagline/slogan, but it doesn’t look right. The girl looks randomly placed and badly edited, and the biohazard symbol is completely out-of-the-blue. The lines of code could be good, but they don’t really work with everything else here. With a bit of work this could be good, but right now it’s just not up to scratch! I don’t think the reader would want to buy the book after seeing that. So now let’s see a different cover, one that’s a little better. Would you buy the book now?

It’s overall quite good, but a bit amateur. There’s still a bit too much going on but it’s a step up from the weird first cover. It’s completely different and shows a different side to what the book’s about. The girl is not very visible, and hidden behind the different images of circuit boards and things. The tagline has been removed. The text needs a bit of work– it’s looks like it’s been stuck on quickly, after the cover was completed. It needs a bit of work.

Obviously I’m not a Photoshop wizard, so I can’t make a brilliant cover, but the ‘good’ cover I’m about to show you is good, compared to the others. It’s definitely not amazing. For that I’d need to be a professional. The ‘good’ cover is similar to the ‘not very good’ cover, but it’s been tweaked and changed. I hope you find it’s better!

This one is simple and gets the point across better. The tagline is there, the biohazard symbol is there, but more understated, and the lines of code are there. All of the best parts of the other covers have been put together, and the girl, the circuit board and all the cheesiness has been left behind. It’s much more professional, but there’s room for improvement (as it was only made by me, after all). So, which book, based on the cover, are you more likely to buy? Poll time!

Changing Perceptions

Book covers tell us a lot about what the book will be about. We know that The Hunger Games is about survival and fighting because of all the military symbols on the cover, like bullet holes and crosshairs. We know that Twilight is a paranormal romance because of the curly title font and black background. It is important to show the right aspect of the book in the cover. For example, there is love in THG, and if they wanted that to be the main point, the cover could look like this:

And that ignores a huge aspect of the book: the fighting for survival, brutal death and kids killing kids. But if the publisher wanted it to be a story about two star-crossed lovers fighting to the death in an arena, then romance fans would probably buy it. Then there would be more ‘haters’ because romance seems to be the number one place for people to complain about the stupidity of the main characters, etc. But since it’s focusing on the action, and the love second, it’s much more unique and caters for all tastes!

Now onto another ‘book’, Tacita. I was just randomly going to put this in here because I wanted to. (The image of the girl warrior, trident and abstract ‘explosion’ behind the title is from 123rf.com, all copyright and credits to them) It’s just a random cover design for Tacita!

Btw, ‘Aquila Monteagle’ is one of my many usernames I use online!

And I know it’s not brilliant, but there we go. I did spend ages on it, and it’s inspired by the cover for Gladiatrix. A lot inspired, actually.

But back to the perceptions thing. And this time I’ll use a different book: Matched. Love is the main theme of this one, but there is also talk of rebellion and war. So what if the cover reflected that instead of the love? And how about Twilight? Actually… not much else is in there apart from the love, so that’s a bad example. BUT, the cover could focus more on vampires, using some sort of vampire imagery or something.

Book covers can change our perceptions greatly. If The Hunger Games had a romance-centric cover, then I’m sure a whole different lot of people would buy it. If Twilight had a really gothic, vampiric cover then very different people would buy it. If Uglies decided to focus on Tally’s romance, then it would get interest from a whole new group of people. Then what would happen to the fame of the book? The reviews? The publicity?

As you can see, a book cover is vital in selling a book. No one would buy Twilight if the cover looked like this.

Your Photoshoppy blogger, Jaz


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