Cover Design Calypso

Everything I ever needed to know about Book Cover Design, I learned in the frozen food aisle of the supermarket...

What makes a great book cover?

Is it color? Is it blurbs from famous authors? Is it just luck? I wish I knew.

Like pornography, I know a great book cover design when I see it, but I can't tell you why it is fantastic, particularly, other than WOW! What a great book cover . It's something that grabs me when I see it. Sadly, it's not like a Chinese menu...one from column A, one from column B, when it comes to cover design.

I do know, though, that I have learned a shocking lesson in this business. Being an avid reader, I of course always assumed that it was what was inside the covers that sold books. But I've learnt otherwise; great covers do sell books, even those with less-than-stellar stories inside of them. And in thinking about it, I realized that I already knew why these books were selling; it's something I learned years ago, when I was ill and had to cruise the aisles of the dreaded "TV Dinner" section of the supermarket. And here's the horrible truth:

People buy frozen dinners based not upon the actual content of the bag or box or TV-Dinner-Tray, but, rather, based upon which company has put the best picture on the cover of the box.

Let me say that again, in case you missed it: When you go to the supermarket frozen-food aisle, and get ready to try something you haven't had before, you will almost always buy the brand with the best-looking image of the food. The brand with the prettiest picture, in other words.

We humans are visual creatures. We're sight-hounds on two legs. This works on television; it works in movies; it works in advertising...and it works for book covers. So keep this in mind when you are preparing your next cover--think of crows, and bright, pretty things.

I once read the best article I've ever read on the topic of cover design, on "creativeindie.com," but the site's been down for ages.  I'd love to reproduce it.  If the person (cover designer) who wrote that article sees this, please contact me if you'd like me to post that article here.  I think it's an incredibly valuable resource.  The original URL for the article in question was:  Awesome Creative Indie Article on Cover Design

Skin Deep cover, from author Timothy Hallinan
The Awesome Skin Deep cover, from author Timothy Hallinan

 

Holiday Closing Alert!

Independence Day (July 4th), 2020 

(And a notice about phone calls.) 

4thJuly2020 smaller

As amazing as it is, this year, for the first time ever,  we're going to be closed for the 4th of July!

That means we're going to be closed, Friday-Monday, July 3rd, 4th and 5th, 2020.

And please, don't forget why we honor Independence Day. 

A notification about phone calls:  due to the COVID-19 plague, we've significantly increased our incoming inquiries--nearly double our usual volume--and the number of incoming inquiries by phone has been literally overwhelming.  Although most writers will say that their call "will only take 15 minutes," the truth is, that after 10 years of doing this, most author inquiry calls take an hour.  45 minutes at best. I'm currently receiving 7-10 calls/day, and due to that, I've had to stop accepting incoming phone calls, which my voicemail will tell you. You can leave a message--I can't call you back without one--and if a call is needed, I will of course call you.  But we have very complete and extensive email replies, handouts and our website is very informative. Almost all the questions that I receive during a call are actually already answered on our site, or are, in fact, publishing questions, not questions about our services, what we do, what we offer, or the like.  I already handle between 90-130 emails/day, as it is. I can't handle that many emails and take 7-10 hours of calls each day. I can't. So, in order to be able to answer this huge email volume, to help the greatest number of people, with my time, I've had to stop accepting calls.  I'm sorry, but that's just how it is. I'm in the process of setting up a call-appointment function, for free 15-minute calls to answer questions from new prospective customers and longer paid sessions for folks who generally want consulting on "publishing," generally (and for prospective kids' book publishers, as a special category of paid consulting).  But that functionality isn't yet set up. I hope to get that working the week of the 5th July, sometime.  

Thank you for your understanding.