Category: -  L.A. Tripp
 
A picture is worth a thousand words. Or so they say. Are they right, or are they wrong?

Don't judge a book by it's cover. You also hear that all the time. Do you agree with it or not?

Well, unfortunately, we all do just that constantly. We judge books by their covers. We judge by the pictures we see. Our guest today has a bit to say about book covers. You just might find it interesting. Katie Jennings, take it away!

You never get a second chance to make your first impression. At least, that’s what my dad always told me, and he’s completely right! Think about your life in terms of the products and services you are exposed to on a daily basis…which ones stand out the most to you? Which ones really take off and which ones fall into the dark depths of obscurity? I’ll answer the question for you: the ones that succeed are the ones that draw in potential buyers with a clear, instant impression. In other words, a picture is worth a thousand words. Or, in our case as authors, a book cover is worth every single word you ever wrote in a novel.

Think about it. You’re perusing the aisles at Barnes and Noble, or scanning the Bestseller’s list on Amazon. What catches your eye? What appeals to you? Obviously, for every consumer the answer to that question is different. Which is why as authors we MUST know our market. We MUST know who we are trying to sell our books to.

As an example, take my book cover for Breath of Air, which is the first book in my contemporary fantasy series The Dryad Quartet. On the cover you see a girl, her face hidden so that the reader (I’m marketing to females, FYI) can easily slip into the main character, Capri’s, shoes. Much emphasis was put on her hair, so that readers can identify that Capri is the light, airy blonde in the book with a soft nature and sweet disposition (note: the bird on her shoulder is both representative of her “Snow White” qualities as well as her gift of Air). In the first chapter of Breath of Air, you learn that Capri can control birds, so having the bird on the cover was key.

Also note the castle in the background. This gives potential readers a clue as to the “type” of fantasy book Breath of Air might be. It’s clearly not set in a grungy New York alleyway or a sweltering Florida beach with palm trees. No, according to the distant image of the castle, the book will take place in a strange land, both elegant and extraordinary. It lends to the concept that Capri feels like something of a “princess” fallen into a realm she had never before imagined.

Okay, so the imagery is all very important, right? But what about when your book is shown in tiny thumbnail form in the midst of thousands upon thousands of other books? What is it that will cause readers to click on your thumbnail before someone else’s?

For me, anyway, it’s the coloring. Coloring is very important, but keep in mind that this varies drastically by genre. Is your book a thriller or horror? You should have dark colors, maybe reds and grays, and there should be plenty of contrast. Or, alternately, do a lighter version with big, bold text and contrasting images in stark black and white. Convey an emotion through the colors you use. If it’s a romance novel, the softer the colors and more dramatic the imagery (a woman with flowing hair, arching back, delicate hands, etc) the better. Readers will notice the book first by color, then by image. Think about your market and the readers you want to attract, and what colors may catch their eye.

So what about your title font? What I recommend is looking up other books in your genre, and seeing what other authors have done. Fantasy and romance books generally have loopy, calligraphy-like text. Thrillers tend to have bolder, stronger, harsher text. It is important that you get the text right. Make the extra effort and surf the free font download sites, and hunt up some new fonts to use. As long as it’s easy to read and available for commercial use, you should be good.

Lastly, I offer you my most important, crucial bit of advice, even though it will only appeal to some of you. But here it is anyway, because I honestly cannot stress this point enough: If you have a book series, make sure that each and every cover in that series is CONSISTENT with the other covers. And I’m talking style, imagery, title text placement, author name font and placement, etc. Readers should be able to easily identify that those books go together. It breaks my heart when I catch authors not following this important rule, because they are not imagining their books sitting side by side on a shelf. And that is how we must look at our work. We must think of ourselves as not just self published authors, but as good enough to be up there with the big boys, our books sitting right beside theirs. If we lose those high standards for ourselves, then the reputation for self published authors suffers.

So please, keep all of this in mind as you create your covers, and good luck!

As always, if you like what this author has to say in their guest spot, please patronize them by clicking on their book on the sidebar. I make absolutely nothing off your purchase through this site. I'm just glad to have them stop by and hope you get some pleasure from meeting another author.
 
Yes, I'm unprofessional. Very much so. And this post will prove it, haha.

Alright, time to thank the sweet Katie Jennings for the award she gave me yesterday. That's the most professional thing you'll see in this post...so brace yourself.

By the way, her blog, and her mention of me, is located here:
http://katieajennings.wordpress.com/
There, now that my plug is out of the way...

I'm supposed to follow this format thingy to return this favor. Well, I've never been one for following the rules, guidelines, or any kind of formal format. So, with that in mind...um, do you have a safety belt? Now would be a good time to use it. Just sayin.

Rules, rules, rules. BLEGH. Er, bah humbug even. Though it's not Christmas. Well, Christmas in July at some jewelry store, I'm sure, so I'm safe there.

Sigh, 7 things that you may not know about me:
(Grumble)
1. I like to grumble a lot. Er, I mean, write a lot. Shhh. Write a lot, yeah, that's it. Engrave that on your mind. *Passes my hand over your head like a souped up magician*
2. David Copperfield, David Blaine, Chris Angel, etc. I am not. I'm just your normal, everyday, average guy who's blazing his own trail in this world. Shocking, I know.
3. I truly do like to help others. As long as...it's appreciated, paid back in some way to someone who truly needs it (that may even be me one day), and I'm not totally burned in the process. Which I have been. WAY too many times.
4. I want MASSIVE success. But then who doesn't, when you're truly being honest about things.
5. I absolutely crave dark chocolate. With Almonds. Or Swiss chocolate. Can't leave home without it.
6. I absolutely love city life and beach life. So much so that I want to have a place in both California and Florida when the day comes that I see my book numbers actually...moving. And not making the sounds of a cricket. When I'm in the position of an Amanda Hocking, J A Konrath, John Locke, Gemma Halliday, CJ Lyons, Andrew E Kaufman, or tons of others, that's when I'll be looking at getting a place like that. In case you don't recognize all those names, here: http://ireaderreview.com/2012/05/03/top-100-indie-authors-for-may-28-authors-to-watch/ 
Then I can truly sit back and enjoy life whilst writing. And hopefully write MORE.
7. Though I get aggravated by them daily...I truly adore my family.

Now, the other part of these arbitrary "rules" are...I'm supposed to tell you about and link you to FIFTEEN other blogs. Ummm...I don't READ 15 blogs! LOL. I don't have time to. So, with two kids running around that just woke from slumber, three WIPS on my desktop that I need to wrap up and push out, marketing to do, food I need to eat, and a much needed mental break from it all, here a couple other blogs you should probably check out: 

http://wade-inpublishing.blogspot.com/
http://nicolestorey.weebly.com/

Having said that...enjoy your weekend!

As always, check some of the books in my right hand column. You just may find a new author you like ;)