We’ve all heard the saying, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’, right? Well, in the book industry we do, and you should too. The cover is the first thing you see when you walk into a bookstore or browse a website. Why would you not judge a book by its cover?
If the cover is lousy or uninteresting, clearly the book has been poorly produced and you’ll be more inclined to think that what’s on the inside won’t be much good either. That’s not to say that if the book cover is good the book will always be good and if it’s bad the book will always be bad, but after working in publishing for over 15 years I can say with great confidence that a book with a bad cover is more likely to not be very good. The same people who make the decisions about the cover also make the decisions about the editing, layout, printing and everything else, so if they’ve made a mess of the cover they’re more likely to have got other stuff wrong as well. On the other hand, an attractive book inspires confidence in the quality of the work and will make you much more likely to pick up the book and have a look through.
One of my favourite books ever is Life of Pi. I happened to be in a bookshop just a few days after it came out and before all the fuss. I hadn’t heard of it yet. I noticed it beside the counter. The cover was absolutely beautiful, as was the printing, and I bought it without even looking inside. Turned out to be one of the best books I ever read.
The appearance of your book matters. If the book doesn’t look appealing to your target market, they’re less likely to pick it up, and then it doesn’t matter how good your content or your writing is.
The cover of your book is the first thing to stand out to your potential clients. So, make sure you have an experienced book designer or self-publishing company help you with your cover.