Your book cover is your single best marketing tool. You’ll use it on your website, in any marketing materials, advertisements, posters at book signings or speaking events. So you have to have a book cover that entices people to pick up your book and take a look at it.
Studies have shown that people spend only a few seconds looking at a book cover. If the cover grabs their interest, they will pick up the book, turn it over and read the back cover copy. If they are still interested, they’ll flip through the pages and take a look inside. If they get that far, they’ll probably buy the book. But they won’t pick it up if their interest is not seized by the cover.
So make sure your cover is eye-catching and appealing and fresh. Neither my publisher nor I could find suitable cover art, so I arranged my own photo shoot to get the image that I wanted.
Once the front cover is set, then make sure the copy on the back does its job: getting people to either buy the book or at least look inside.
There are many companies out there who can help with cover design. If you use one, make sure they are book cover experts. One that provided excellent advice to me was Cover that Book: Insider Secrets for Writing and Designing a Bestselling Book Cover from www.writetoyourmarket.com.
Once you’ve learned the secrets, you can hire a graphic designer to come up with a front cover. If you go this route, make sure the person has experience with book covers and understands what the book cover needs to do for you.
Don’t assume you have to hire a professional to design your book cover. Given the importance of your cover, this is one area it’s worth spending some money on. But there is an alternative.
Here’s a great post which provides another option is “How to Use Powerpoint to Create a Book Cover.” This is obviously a more economical approach to book cover design, and the instructions are very detailed.
Whichever way you go, take a few field trips to the local book store and look at book covers. Which ones catch your eye? Which ones look professional, which ones look homemade? What makes you think that? Look at book in your genre, the ones that would be your competition. What colors and kinds of images do they use? You might want to try to come up with something a little different so you don’t look like everyone else. A few hours of research will help you immensely as you develop your book cover.