By Meg Mims, Award-winning, Bestselling Author of Double Crossing, The Key to Love and Santa Paws
I’m an artist. I can spot a great cover right away. It should be eye-catching with a not-too-busy image, great color sense and the title and author name placed well and in a simple script. I’ve seen covers that either don’t fit the book, use almost illegible fonts, multiple images that clash or are just plain ugly.
Granted, my personal experience with covers is limited since I have only three books out. But I’ve advised others about their covers and can spot a dud or a winning cover pretty easy. Let me explain why I chose to reject the first cover my publisher approved for my book, Double Crossing. The image seemed acceptable, dark and moody for a mystery, with an image of an empty railroad track and a lone tree. However, my story was more positive – and the cover would have fit for a zombie thriller. I wanted warmer tones – not blue. I wanted a historical image of a train, perhaps crossing a bridge since that plays a big part in my novel. The cover artist had chosen a great font, so that was all set. I had the artist reverse the image, so the train looked as if it crossed the bridge from east to west, and we chose a warm orange-tone color. I thought it fit the story better, had a warmer tone and looked pleasing to the eye.
For The Key to Love, the cover artist found an image of a man and a woman with a rose, which I’d asked for – perfect! Except the rose was a pale pink, and I utilized red as a theme for the book. Red leather jacket, red car, red roses, red-toned dress for a hot date, etc. The cover artist altered the rose on the cover, and sweet perfection! She also chose a more readable font.
For Santa Paws, I’d found a photo of an adorable dog that looked like my own rescue dog – with an elf hat, next to a Christmas tree, with a simple font. Eye-catching, pleasing colors, readable, and sweet! That cover sells the book.
And that’s what it’s all about. Sales. Cover art truly does make a difference in selling your book. Make sure the image fits the genre – Regency or Victorian covers with girls in gorgeous dresses sell very well. If the setting is winter, choose a cool blue to suggest that. Summer would need a warm tone, unless it’s set in the tropics on a beach. A thriller or dark mystery might need a darker tone, but don’t overdo it – or choose a font in a complementary color. Red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple, depending on what you want to emphasize.
Trawl Amazon or Barnes & Noble online, and see what catches your eye. A book’s cover should suggest the interior mood or tone, perhaps hint at the theme, with an image that also plays up the book’s title or genre. Check out the romantic comedy “cartoon” covers that look fun and flirty. Perfect for what’s inside. The Hunger Games had great covers too. Eye-catching images, simple and tone perfect.