Six Steps to a Strong Cover: With Julia Coblentz of Nook Press
Our thanks to Julia Coblentz for this guest post that originally appeared at barnesandnoble.com/nookpress-blog. Julia is the Senior Marketing Manager at NOOK Press. With over ten years of experience in book marketing, Julia was previously at Random House, Inc. and was a Marketing Director at Abrams. Nook Press is the sponsor of PubSense Summit 2014’s Literary Dinner: Celebrating the Golden Age of Authors… Then and Now!
Your cover is the first impression readers will have of your eBook. One of the fun steps to self-publishing is selecting–and in some cases creating–a cover that captures the genre, tone and appeal of your story. And while a picture might be worth a thousand words, it’s sometimes challenging to find a picture that captures your 70,000 words.
Here are six steps to creating a strong cover that speaks to your readers.
- Have a Game Plan: You’ve written your masterpiece and there’s so much to say about your book — way too much, in fact, to fit onto one book cover. Time to organize your thoughts in a way that highlights exactly what you want potential readers to take away when they see your cover. Look to key points in the narrative that define the tone of your book and keep them in mind as you layout what messages the book cover should convey. Also look at other covers in your book’s genre to see what images and styles have resonated with readers of books similar to your own.
- Author/ Publisher/Art Director: You already wear many hats, but designer doesn’t have to be one of them. If you aren’t familiar with design programs or aren’t graphically-inclined, consider hiring a professional cover designer. You’ll still be very involved in your cover’s development, acting as the art director by providing the designer with insight about your project, your readers (or potential readers) and starting points for a design.
- Think in Thumbnail: In the digital world, the reader first encounters your cover in thumbnail size. When developing your cover design, check to see what is legible and striking at this smaller size. Very fine artwork, lettering or small images may be difficult to see once scaled down.
- Keep it Simple: Building on the thumbnail tip, consider that the more you add to your cover, the more crowded your cover will be at a smaller size. If you’re purchasing stock images, one image with text layered on top can be very powerful. Trying to combine too many images at once can make a cover’s message muddied.
- Brand Your Book: You may be publishing your first work, or your fourteenth. In either case you should be thinking about your brand as an author. Consider maintaining similar fonts, layouts or themes in all of your covers. This is particularly useful in visually tying together books in a series.
- Include Key Selling Points: Is your book part of a series? Be sure to include the series name and the number of the book on the cover. Have you made any bestseller lists? Be sure to include that fact above your name. Has an esteemed fellow colleague provided praise for your work? Include his/her quote on your cover.
What are some of your favorite book covers?