MT McGuire Books

Your book. Do you have it covered?

Yes. Obviously. Of course you do. That’s a no-brainer. 

Does it matter? Oh yes. A lot, judging by the number of comments I’ve had. Like many aspects of my publishing venture the right cover, which, in my case, is currently in design, has come on the back of many stuff-ups. 

So if you are thinking about your book cover right now, here are a few things I’ve learned, the hard way, so you don’t have to.

1. OK, first up, get someone professional to do it. It’s worth the money. It says you’ve put time and effort in. From the reader’s point of view, if someone’s gone to the effort to get a decent cover designed for their book then it suggests they will have spent similar time and effort on what’s inside. That would be enough to influence my buying decision if I was havering.

You may have noticed that the cover of Few Are Chosen, the book, is professionally designed but doesn’t really make sense unless you’ve already read the book and the least said about my home-drawn bodge on the Kindle version, the better. 

However, believe it or not, my home done cover just sneaked ahead of the properly designed original when I put it to the vote. Which leads me neatly onto the second and third things.

2. Make sure you think it though and make it relevant to what you’ve written. If you want people to get a sense that there’s plenty of excitement and action in your book you need to show some on the cover. If there is a central aspect which is important, you may want to feature that. Few Are Chosen needs both and at the moment the home drawn cover does one, the pukka designer one, the other. It’s taken me a year to work out an idea that combines the two. So yeh, if you can, do your thinking first and try not to brief the designer before you have a clear idea of what you want.

3. Third thing, make sure you brief the person designing it properly. I’m not sure if I’ve ever done this that well (the designers I use would be far too polite to tell me if I asked them). But that leads me neatly onto point 4.

4. If you can find a designer who is on your wavelength the whole process will be a lot easier. It may also be cheaper, too. Even if, on paper, the one you click with charges a higher hourly rate. It’s also worth listening to them. So, the people I’ve used come back with a different option to the one I’d spec’d. They’d even done a mock up. It was miles better than my idea and it will be a little cheaper. 

5. Once you have a mock up that’s close, show it to as many people as you can. Ask them what they think. If eveyone goes ‘wow’ you know it’s a cracker. If they don’t and they’re able to tell you why, have a think about changing it — especially if there’s a consensus over one particular thing.

6. If you can, keep it simple because it’s got to stand out in low res or as a thumbnail as well as on the printed cover.

In a nutshell, then. Think about what you’re doing, shop around for a designer and pick someone who is right for you and get feedback from your audience. I know this all sounds mind blowingly obvious but believe it or not, it took me until now to figure all these simple things out. So there you are, I hope this information is useful!

Below are the images under discussion, the red one is the properly designed paperback cover, the other is my bodge. The new amalgamation of both is coming shortly… and I’m so excited! I can’t wait.

Posted November 15, 2011 and visited 2514 times, 1 so far today

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