The Importance of the Book Cover in Promoting Books

Charlene Mattson 2I now have three books with  Kellan Publishing and a fourth one coming as soon as my beta reader lets it go (we’ll see how long that takes!). In my time cruising around the various blogs about getting published, I see that many people talk about the importance of things like press releases and pre-promotion and events, but not nearly as much about covers and finding the right covers (and the right artists). For this reason, and to give some more credit to two amazing artists, I want to talk about the importance of the book cover when getting published.

Human beings are extremely visual creatures. We’ve all done it when looking at books or movies and trying to decide if we’re going to purchase/rent them: we look at the cover. If the cover intrigues, we look at the back (or the inside) to learn more about it. And then, we may buy it, rent it, or borrow it. If the cover doesn’t entice, then people aren’t going to bother looking at the description, let alone the rest of the product. At the same time, we don’t think about the importance of the cover that introduces us to our books until we come across a book cover that really doesn’t do it for us or doesn’t fit the book. And even if we do go ahead and read it, if the cover doesn’t suit, we’re often left wondering what the author or publisher was thinking when they okayed that artist’s work.

I was very fortunate when I finished The Curious Case of Prince Charming and The Glass Slipper Conspiracy. I had a long-time friend who is a fantastic artist when he has the time to do it, and he designed book covers that people still warm up to years later. Simple, but the covers had the ‘feel’ that I sought: fairy tales and of course, trouble for poor William Tenys. With Blood Moon Rising, I had to bring in a second artist as my original one was unable to work on it. My main worry there was that the work would be too different and as a result, the series wouldn’t feel as though it flowed properly. Fortunately, artist #2 was very careful about upholding the atmosphere that the first one had started and I don’t know how many people know that there were two artists at all!

But there were other important things that I considered when I was choosing my artists to help me in my dreams of getting published:

  • I wanted to work with an artist I knew and could collaborate with, someone who would respect the work and enjoy it. This was particularly important for Curious Case as it would set the stage for the rest of the books. I also wanted to make sure the money went to someone who needed it, an artist who wasn’t established and instead did it as a passion. That certainly suited my friends to a ‘t.’
  • Pay. I didn’t (and don’t) have a lot of money, but I also don’t like to cheat people out of what they are due. We negotiated the price to ensure everyone walked away happy. You get what you pay for when it comes to art and if you want something that will attract readers, you should be willing to either put the work into finding and putting together something or pay someone who can do it. Book covers are quite literally the face of your marketing campaign. Give them the respect and attention they deserve.
  • Finally, stand up for what you envision for your books. If the cover has the characters looking wrong, say so! It’s your book.

3D The Curious Case of Prince CharmingWe spend a lot of time chewing over what works and what doesn’t work in marketing, but we often forget that the face of our book is a huge draw, or turn-off, for readers. When looking at getting published, put some energy into making sure that the first thing people see about your book is what you want them to see.

Get your copy of The Curious Case of Prince Charming or The Glass Slipper Conspiracy with artwork done by Robin Warren!

Already have them? Check out Blood Moon Rising with artwork done by Andy Johnson!

Have all three and itching for the next one? Follow me on Facebook for announcements!

~ Charlene Mattson

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