As a Reader…
Today, I wanted to bang my head against a wall. This is HORRIBLE people.
Grabbing the first free stock photo you see that’s close enough, cropping it to the right shape, and slapping some Arial 48pt font across it with standard leading is NOT how to make a good cover. If it takes you less time to design the cover than write the blurb, you’re either a professional designer – or doing it wrong. Probably the later.
Typography is the art of choosing the right font, setting it together in such a way as to appeal to the eye, and adding those pretty little flares. Knowing your font families, how many of them you can use at a time (and I mean ALL text on a cover) and how to draw the eye to the important and appealing events on your cover? Yeah, that’s what will sell your book.
Covers demand more than a basic stock image. Try some filters. A little photoshop maybe? Enhance the saturation, contrast, and maybe soften something up. Take that stock image and make it YOURS.
But I swear, most authors forget what it’s like to shop for a book as a reader. They spend all their time writing, and none of it making their art into something appealing to the masses. They want to do it cheap (because that’s the path to riches? I dunno.) and think that spending money on something like a cover or a PR company is just “too expensive”. THEN they wonder why no one buys their most brilliantly written masterpiece. Well, I’ll make this easy:
If you don’t believe in your book enough to spend money on it, then why should I?
That’s really all there is to it. When I look at the cover and blurb for your book, if I get the feeling that you rushed through it, then I’m going to assume that you put as little effort into your manuscript. You probably didn’t spend money on an editor. You very likely didn’t listen to any advice you were given (because this stuff is everywhere on the internet) and you are lazy/cheap. Probably both.
And no matter how many times you spam your Twitter feed, throw it up on facebook, pin it on Pinterest, or whatever else you do, that won’t make me suddenly have a desire to actually SPEND MONEY on something you’re too cheap to pay for. You, the person who created it. You should be its biggest fan.
Instead, it’s likely to convince me that you’re a hack who sucks at this – and that’s before I ever read a word.
Having a bad cover that tried is different. Putting effort into something is usually obvious. Now, maybe your cover sucks, but I can see you tried. Well, I might make it all the way to the blurb – where your WRITING has a chance to impress me. I might not. I also won’t think less of you for changing your cover because it sucks. Rather the opposite, in fact.
We all know this independent author thing takes a little learning to get right. There will be trial and error. What we as readers unconsciously avoid like the plague are the authors who come across like they are out to scam us. Writing is not a get rich quick scheme. It never will be. It’s art, and you should treat your ENTIRE book like a masterpiece so that I’ll think it’s worth as much as a cup of coffee.
Because I promise you, dear author, that you do not deserve my money. You have to earn it.