Judging a Book by More Than It’s Cover

Photo by Rashtravardhan Kataria on Unsplash

You perfected your words. Added the finishing touches, and now you have a beautifully polished manuscript. 

Yay! What’s next? Well, lets think. You want everyone to read these beautifully crafted words, right? So what’s going to grab their attention to get to these words? How do you get them to pick up your book? 

You know what they say about not judging a book by it’s cover? Well, this maybe shocking but! When your in the market of selling a book, you want your readers to judge your cover! So, in todays lesson, the focus is all about this cover, and how to get that cover to sparkle (not literally, well, unless you want sparkles!)

Designing your Book’s Cover

If your an avid reader (which as a writer, you should be), then you remember the last time you were in your neighborhood bookstore. You probably perused the shelves, right? Walking up and down the display tables when suddenly a book just popped out at you. Jumped off the shelf and you couldn’t do anything to prevent yourself from picking it up! That’s the feeling we want to give your readers! That’s the sparkle!

Three common traits shared by most covers:

It attracts the eye instantly, even as a thumbnail

Its legible, with the title and author’s name clear

It uses all of it’s angles to communicate, from the front and back to the spin and inside cover

So how do we achieve this? There are a few ways, you could jump on the various websites or applications that help you to create your own book cover. Or pull up a blank doc on illustrator and start designing!

OR, you can hire a professional! Someone that wears that Air Director’s beret all the time! 

Wearing this beret requires research upon research of other books in your genre, of your readers and your potential readers. It requires some experimentation and elimination, all before you end up with something your happy with! It may require a photo shoot, or the purchase of the perfect font! It will take time and energy! Which you may decide is worth the few hundred dollars it will cost to pass on your beret to a professional.

Whatever you decide, when you finish with a beautiful cover, something you know represents your work, it’s time to move on to the next step in the design process. 

So, after you pick up that book in your local bookshop, you stare at the beautifully designed cover, what do you do next? If you’re anything like me, you open the book and flip through it’s pages. Not to just smell that new book smell, but to glimpse the font and format (even if you don’t realize your doing it). 

Typesetting your Book

Just like your outside cover, you to can design the inside. You can pick the perfect font, adjust the spacing and margins. Style your chapter headings and layout your table of contents. There are tons of online tools to help format your book. You can locate tons of free format editors (theres one right on Amazon’s platform). Or you can watch YouTube tutorials that can be completed with Word or Pages. Ultimately, these tools allow you to typeset your book all by yourself! And it won’t cost you a thing!

Or, like everything else. You can outsource it. If your book has a lot of custom content like charts, illustrations or photos, I suggest you seek out a professional. But if your book is simply text, then by all means, jump right in! Theres something about putting it together yourself that’ll give you a sense of accomplishment! Well, I mean it did for me!

But before you dive into the online world of formatting, you have to learn the various file formats used by different self-publishing platforms. It sounds like a lot, but I promise you not! Tomorrow’s lesson will bring it all into focus!

Recommended Read:
The Book Blueprint: Expert Advice for Creating Industry-Standard Print Books by Joel Friedlander