Why, oh why, do self-published authors insist on creating mediocre book covers? At the recent Author U Extravaganza, I talked with a gaggle of newly published authors. As proud as a new Dad or Mom, they put their treasure in my hands. Uh-oh... what comes out of my mouth is often what they don't want to hear ... as in "What were you thinking ...?" Too many times, the cover was poorly designed, didn’t relate to the book topic and was third-rate at best.
Covers are your barker … “You-who ... look at me,” “I have the answer to your question,” “Here’s the solution to your problem,” “Wahoo … pick me, I’m a terrific read,” etc., etc., etc. Covers are a critical investment in the presentation of your book … not just the front, but the back. Where the front is designed to say what the book is about and convey, “Pick me up now, I’m the one” ...
The back cover should get them to fall in ... Your buyers spend more time on the back—does it have a bold “grab them” headline so they fall in? How about three to five bullet points that are designed to hook the reader with “That’s me; that’s me; the author has written this just for me” as they read through them. A paragraph or two about the book and they should be sold. In my opinion, don’t get stuck on a bunch of endorsements—unless they are knocking your socks off with a name that is the guru in the genre your are writing in. The truth is, most endorsements are fillers and used when the copy in the body doesn’t sing—you probably don’t need them. You want to create "grabber" copy ... use bullets ... entice the reader with intriguing questions--aha headlines to pull them in.
Use a Headline to Shout Out ... There is a reason why there are specialists in copy for headlines. One of my favorite resources is to look at what the tabloids do. Yes, some are outrageous, but step back. There is a word master at word. In those few short words used, he or she is putting together words that will emotionally pull you in. Headlines ... on the front covers and the back ... are grabbers.
Standing in line at the grocery store in the spring, I was looking over the magazines waiting my turn to be checked out. All those magazines are placed to grab shoppers attention, and I'm no exception. In Touch grabbed mine immediately:
My Butt won't Stop Growing! Wow ... is that a headline or what?! Of course, I had to take a picture to share with you: With covers—the back, the front and flaps or a dust jackets—always think benefit to the reader. Your book shouldn’t look like it was “self-published.” Ever. My final word.
Judith Briles is known as The Book Shepherd a book publishing expert and coach. She is the Founder of Author U, a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. Judith is the author of 31 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms, Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences.
Become part of her inner circle by joining the Author’s Ark and exclusive monthly webinar and coaching event. Her audio and workbook series, Creating Your Book and Author Platform is now available. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for Author U – Your Guide to Book Publishing on the Toginet Network at http://togi.us/authoru. Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU and TheBookShepherd on Facebook. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact Judith at Judith@Briles.com.