We’re all familiar with the phrase, aren’t we?

But the truth is, we still do. And so will your readers.

In my blog on acquiring an editor, I also highlighted another piece of advice for indie authors, especially first-timers, which is red-flagged consistently within the indie author community and that is your front cover.

Because we do, and will most likely continue to judge books by their covers, getting the right design is absolutely vital, because you want to catch the eye of potential readers. This is especially true within the children’s market and the ever-dwindling attention span.

When you go to the cinema, the trailers they run before the film you’ve paid to see act as a glimpse of what’s to come to entice you back. It must appeal to you on an emotional level, hold your attention and leave you thirsty for more.

And this is true for book covers, only they have to work more efficiently because you can walk past the shelf your book sits on, or scroll past its listing on iBooks, Amazon or your eReader recommendations. Consumer consumption and engagement is about attention grabbing. But not just that. Once a book cover grabs your attention, its job is to elicit that all important emotional response and this is where the skills of an illustrator come in.

I will be doing a more in-depth blog very shortly about working with my illustrator Darran Holmes on how he created the front cover for Hannah and the Hollow Tree, but until then, here are some things that really are worth taking time to consider:

Does my cover match my genre?

Are the colour tones right for the mood and feel of the story?

Have I settled for a font style that anyone could pick up online?

Does the text in any way block or distract from the image?

Have I sized the font proportionately?

Is the resolution quality high enough if I intend on doing print runs?

These are just a few of the questions I and Darran (and even my editor, Carly, who knows a thing or too about cover design, or book-building as I like to call it) have had to consider in order to design and build the best quality book we can, that could sit comfortably amongst rows of acclaimed and commercially successful authors on the shelves or tables of Waterstones.

The market is crowded, and with eBooks, Kindle, KDP, Kobo as well as an army of small independent presses being established and breaking down barriers between authors and their readers, it has never been more important to stand out from the crowd.

Again, research is important, just as with finding an editor, you can search online and look at websites, like illustrationweb.com, creativepool, or Beehive Illustration. Or using LinkedIn and Pinterest as a means of finding and connecting with potential illustrators. And, of course, utilising the listings in the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook are always an ideal place to start.

Remember, a first impression really does only happens once.

To find out more about Darran’s work and his history working for the legendary Peter Jackson, click the link below.


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