Let us take a random scene from our lives. You are inside a book store with no particular book in mind that you want to purchase. You see books arranged in sections – romance, mystery, thriller, non-fiction, self-help etc. You get to the romance section and see huge bookshelves with literally tons of romances all stacked up closely (let’s admit it; romance is the most written genre). Now, assuming you don’t have the time to pick every book and read the first couple of pages, what are the factors that will make you pick a particular book from the infinite options available? The answer would be – an attractive book cover.
There is a very popular saying which goes –“First impression is the last impression”. While not entirely true, we cannot deny that a major part of our opinions, especially the ones which decide if we want to go ahead with something are based on our initial impressions, be it of a person, a place or almost about anything new that we come across every day. Same goes with a book, the cover needs to be interesting and attractively designed to not just look good but pique the reader’s interest to probe more. A dull clichéd cover will only disappoint and bore a reader.
So, what should an ideal book cover be like?
Whether this is the author’s first book that is getting published or the hundredth, it is very importance that a lot of attention is paid to how the book looks from outside. Authors who have paid so much attention getting the book completed should give an equal amount of importance to the cover of their book, as it is what makes or breaks the deal. A good book cover, I think should fulfill the following criteria-
· Pleasant Color – The color family used on the cover should be appropriate to the genre. A mystery novel with a pink cover or a YA romance with a dominant black cover would look rather odd. The colors should be fresh and complementary and not too overwhelming.
· Attractive Picture- The picture or animation on the cover is as important as what is inside. It should ideally be a reflection of the book, a pictorial blurb. Keeping it relevant and symbolical is a great idea without revealing too much from the story but care should be taken to not take the symbolism too far and getting the reader all confused. However, misleading the reader using the cover in case of a mystery/thriller would be a great idea for a better climactic end for the story inside. Care should be taken that the elements used on the cover are kept at a bare minimum so that they don’t become chaotic.
· Font and Size- While the background color and cover picture form an integral part, the fonts and their sizes used for the title, author’s name and subtitles should be carefully chosen. Using Comic Sans MS or Ravie from Microsoft Word for a very serious book would be rather inappropriate. Also, using too very stylized and complicated fonts might end up making the title look like an undecipherable crypt. The sizes should be carefully chosen so that they are symmetrical and medium sized, so that they fit in the frame of the book well.
· The Back Blurb – The blurb of the book provided at the back is of equal importance as the real contents inside. It is like the ingredient list on a food product, if it sounds tasty and nourishing, only then will the foodie (in this case the reader) purchase the book. A blurb should ideally be a short catchy description of the main idea without any spoilers. Keeping the reader intrigued and asking for more is the mantra.
To sum up, it is very important that authors hire a good professional cover artist to get the jacket of their book designed. Investing low in this section can be a bad idea because if the cover designer carelessly uses copyrighted pictures from the internet without permission for a book’s cover, it can lead to a messy lawsuit for the author.