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Book Writing - The Front Cover

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Don't judge a book by it's cover, that well-known phrase that's been heard by many, and obeyed by few. It's one of those things that sounds good in theory, but in reality the cover is the first part of your book people will see on the bookstore shelf, and so it's only natural that if they like the look of it they will be more inclined to pick your book up out of all the others on the shelf. Remember that in a shop your book will be put with others that are similar to yours, or in other words, the competition. That means that the cover needs to be particularly eye-catching so that a potential buyer will choose yours. Just because you have an attractive cover doesn't necessarily mean that they will buy your book, but at least it creates the chance, which is something most of the other books on the shelf didn’t get, as not many book buyers will pick up and read the back cover of every single book in the category in which they are interested.

What sort of cover should I use for my book?

Tough question, as it’s really up to you, but try and get one that appeals to your intended reader-base. For example, having an elaborate, historical painting may encourage adults to pick up your book, but if your book was aimed at young children then a cartoon-style design on the front would be much more likely to attract their interest. And it may sound silly, but it’s usually a good idea to make the picture on your cover have at least some relevance to your storyline (it happens!) Unless they love your story outright, if you had a picture of a horse on your cover, and someone who wanted to read a book about horses bought it because of it, they’re not going to be too pleased if your novel is actually about space travel. It may have chalked up one sale for you, but they’ll certainly not buy your next book, and they’ll also probably tell their friends, family etc not to go anywhere near your books, which is definitely not good news, as positive word-of-mouth is almost certainly the number one factor in making your book fly off the shelves.

Before you invest any time and money in a cover, though, make sure your publisher will let you choose the cover, as some might insist on one of their choosing.

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