There are a number of websites where you can find a bookcover for your book. I'm talking about the pre-made bookcovers, which can range in price anywhere from $150.00 to $600 at best. The biggest advantage  of this type of bookcover is you can get them quickly and do not have to wait for an illustrator to create it. So what is the disadvantage of these bookcovers? They do not reflect your story. Generally generic, they can be used for any genre. Of course, if this is what you want, then you will probably be quite satisfied with it. But if you are wanting your book to stand out from the rest, a bookcover that reflects your story will be much more satisfactory.

Stop and think about it for a moment, and you will see what I mean. The first thing a person looks at when searching for a book is the title. If the title doesn't grab them, they move on to the next book. Once they find a title that draws their interest, they pick up the book and look at the bookcover. Now you can see why it is important to the sale of your book. The title and the bookcover are the first two things that will give the reader a good idea what the book is about. Those two items will convince the reader to read the blurb on the back cover and even open the book and read the first page or two.

Now I have seen a number of well-known authors' new books on the shelf with bookscovers so plain and boring that it is a good thing they have already made a name for themselves. Otherwise they probably would not sell very many books. But when you are starting out, you are not well-known so you have to take further measures to help promote the sale of your book.

People who read are visual. We, as writers, learn to write in such a way as to draw a visual picture in their minds. That is what the bookcover picture should do for your title. It should draw a visual picture of the written title as well as the basic story, hence giving the reader a better idea of whether or not they would be interested in buying it.

What do you want in an illustrator? Well, your illustrator should be someone who is willing to work closely with you to achieve the perfect bookcover for you. If they are not willing to do this, they are probably not worth the money you are paying them. Once you find the right illustrator, you will find satisfaction on several different levels. One, you will obtain a bookcover with which you will fall in love, and you will know immediately that it is the one for you. Two, you will have a bookcover that will help sell your book. Three, you will have a good friend who will, the longer you work together on different projects, know just what you like or dislike; and you will develop a good working relationship.

At this point, I would like to give credit to my most wonderful and talented illustrator who has put up with me with the utmost patience. Her name is Heather Paye. She has amazed me with her talent. If you are interested in her work, you can find her here:  Heather Paye.

Faye M. Tollison
Author of: To Tell the Truth
Upcoming books: The Bible Murders
                            Sarah's Secret

Member of: Sisters In Crime
                  Writers On the Move
                   Books In Sync


elysabeth said...

Great article, Faye. This is especially helpful if you are self-pubbing and are in the market for a quality, professional cover. Even if you work with a publisher and the publisher is paying the cover artist, the cover should be professional and fit the story, not the other way around. Thanks for sharing - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
"The Proposal" (a 2nd place winning April Fools Day story), a humorous romance ebook
"The Tulip Kiss" (a 1st place winning story), a paranormal romance ebook
"Bride-and-Seek" (a Petigru Review selected story), a paranormal romance ebook

Margaret Fieland said...

Faye, thank you for posting this. I will most likely end up self-publishing the poems that go along with my sci fi novel and if I do, I'll need a book cover.

Shirley Corder said...

Thanks for this Faye. My book of devotionals for those going through Breast Cancer releases soon. My working title was Rise and Soar Above the Valley of Cancer. I visualised a picture with lots of sky and a magnificent eagle soaring in the thermals.
What I actually got was the most stunning picture of a woman on the beach! Nothing like what I visualised but it's way way better. Just shows - I'll stick to writing, and trust the gifted artists of Baker Publishing or wherever else I publish in the future, to know best!

T. Forehand said...

Thanks Faye for the post on this subject. Self publishing is one of the things for me to consider and a book cover will be needed.

Faye Tollison said...

Thanks, Elysabeth, I know you understand what I mean. The bookcover is one of your best marketing tools.


Faye Tollison said...

Yes, you will need a book cover and that book cover will be very important so make sure it gives the reader a good idea of what's inside the book. It should reflect your poems and reflect the kind of writer that you are. Make sure it speaks to your audience.


Faye Tollison said...

Sometimes you're lucky and the publisher will pick a book cover that is perfect. But that's not always the case. You, as the author, should take an active interest in the creation of your book cover. You were lucky this time, you may not be lucky next time. Take heed!


Faye Tollison said...

You're welcome and good luck with your choices.


Kathleen Moulton said...

Covers and illustrations (children's books) are so important to me that if it isn't something I like I won't even pick it up. I'm really not that arrogant, but for me, it has to hook me that way.

Thank-you for your helpful info! I haven't completed my book yet but I'm already thinking about the cover.


Magdalena Ball said...

It might be a truism, but people definitely do judge books by their cover. Having the right cover can make all the difference between sales and no sales.

VS Grenier said...

It's funny really how we always say not to judge a book by its cover, but everyone is right when they say readers normally do. Thanks for sharing.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Thanks for the post. Book covers are one of the first ways a reader connects with a book. Now, with so many people ordering their books online, a book cover has to be grab you even when reduced to a half an inch.

Heidiwriter said...

Yes! I agree, book covers are so important in grabbing the readers' attention.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

One of the things to check when signing your contract is how much input you, the author, will be allowed on your cover. Some publishing houses allow no input at all. You may be as lucky as Shirley to prefer the cover created but authors in other instances have been bitterly disappointed.

Karen Cioffi said...

Eysabeth, a book cover is your first impression of the book - it's essential to have a 'good' one.

I've used Heather for a book cover (How to Attract Customers with Information Marketing) and she did an amazing job.

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

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