Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Judging a Book by Its Cover

Never judge a book by its cover.

Has any less followed piece of advice ever been given? We all judge books by their covers. I can almost guarantee that if I come across a book with a picture of a medieval battlefield, heraldry, or castle on the front, I am at least going to pick it up and read the back. The same book with a scantily clad lady or embracing couple will not get a second glance.

Why is this important? Because I've learned some tough lessons since I started writing and am sure to learn more. An essential one is that independent authors are their own worst enemy when it comes to book covers.

We spend months perfecting our story, formatting it for publication, and editing over and over again. Then we choose a free cover template that will inspire approximately 5 people to pick it up and read it.

I'm not just pointing a finger here. As guilty as anyone, I was cheap and impatient when I released the first edition of No Such Thing as Perfect. Here is the original cover (I only show you because we are all friends here):

About a year later, I realized my mistake and chose a designer to take my image and create something a little more impressive. Within a few days, I had this:

One is clearly professionally designed, the other not, even though they utilize the same image. Let me tell you, my first cover isn't as abysmal as others out there either, but I thought it only fair for me to pick on myself.

So, which would you be tempted to pick up? Of course, I'm hoping that you'll say the second.

For this attractive cover I had to invest a total of $10. That's right. $10. Fellow authors, we are shooting ourselves in the foot over the cost of a single paperback.

I did have the advantage with both my covers that I owned the images that I wanted to use. If you don't, your investment may double! Please, please, do so. I want to read your books, I really do. But I'm going to pass them by if you make the same mistake I made.

Do you have a cover disaster story to share?

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