Ouch My Foot
I am not an authority on book covers but having just finished putting my Books on Create-a-Space in paperback form, and having to create new covers I am reflecting a little on the job of book covers. Should they reflect the contents or look tempting? I personally think they should do both. After all when you pick a book up the first thing you see is the cover. So I decided that the cover for A Bengal Poppy – which is about the opium trade between China and the East India Company in the Jason Watson Series – reflected the idea. An Opium poppy on a plain coloured background is a simple but compelling cover what’s on the inside? go read. But which I wondered, is the most appealing? A picture or design in bright grabbing colour’s or in warm inviting ‘pick me up and read’ colour’s? I suppose it depends on the reader. I personally thought my choice for A Bengal Poppy was different and on one end of the spectrum.
Then there is the problem of ‘loosing’ the title and authors name in amongst the design of the picture and to my mind there in lies the Bear Trap. One of the things a self-publishing writer needs to do is get his/her name out there, and the book cover can help do that. However, if you make the cover too bright it might stand out in your eyes but it can put a potential reader off. Plus adding the title and authors name in a different colour can and sometimes does destroy what you are aiming for. If you make the cover too busy it can sometimes detract from the title and your name with the same outcome, so reaching that happy medium is quite a feat. I have made the new covers for my books as midway as I can. They depict the story in someway and the colours are gentle on the eye but, I feel, also warming and inviting, you don’t feel they will bite you if you pick them up.
To help me in my decision I wandered over to my bookcase and took a look at the covers displayed there. How they are presented, the style of the covers and I asked myself would I buy this book just on the cover if I picked it up in a shop? In almost all cases the answer was yes I would (and I have). They depict the contents by being either interesting or action covers thus inviting me/you to pick them up open them and read.
As I have said it’s a ‘Bear Trap’ of a job for the author, unless you have an army behind you who do all that. You have to be careful where you place your ‘feet’ in this area, as there is always a trap waiting for you to step into it. Once you have changing your mind and the cover to extract yourself is often hard.
We all need help in one form or another and I have to admit I have made a few boo boos in this department. So this time I asked my wife and daughter what they thought about some of the covers I already had, hence the changes. My daughter – who is an avid reader of Stephen King and my books – said ‘unless you are an established writer like Stephen King covers are important dad. The cover for Clearing in the Forest is just right it has the look of tranquillity but you can also feel there might be a ‘baddie’ lurking somewhere.’
So feeling brave I took a look at A Plymouth Story and applied the same rules, and with the help of GOOGLE Images I feel I have got it right.
You can find my books on Kindle and in paperback from Create a Space plus other outlets, with hopefully no Bear Traps.
(c) M.D.Bosc Author