Bad cover art = bad first impression

I don’t think many serious readers would refuse to read a book JUST because the cover is bad, but I do believe that many readers pass right on by well written books if the cover is atrocious. And for people like me, people who operate in a left/right brain world and who are visually inclined, good cover art can stop us in our tracks.

As I’m browsing the shelves at the bookstore, I will always pick up a book with a beautifully designed and intriguing cover. That doesn’t mean I’m going to buy it, but it does mean I’ll give an otherwise unknown quantity a chance. After I look at the cover, I then turn it over to read the blurbs on the back. I try to connect the “feel” of the cover art with how the blurbs characterize the book. If the two don’t seem to have any connection, then I wonder what the publisher was thinking? Did the designer read the book or even a synopsis of the book? Did the writer have any input in the cover? (Chances are, NO!)

I’ve been through the process of trying to influence a major publisher on dust jacket design and it didn’t go well. On one of the books, the cover art, in my humble opinion, was okay but the type was too dark and too hard to read and, when reduced for online booksellers like amazon, nearly illegible. What was the publisher thinking? And why didn’t they listen to the author or the author’s marketing representative?

Blank Slate Press will be different. Every author will have input into cover design. Every cover will be designed by a professional graphic designer who has  either talked with the author and read a detailed synopsis or read the book–and often all three. And every cover will be legible! Every book designed so that even if you only see the spine on the shelf, you’ll want to stop and take a look.

Because while everyone knows you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, we also know that you only get one chance to make a first impression.

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Explore posts in the same categories: book cover design, the business of publishing

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