Covers Can Make or Break a Book

Author Darren BeyerGuest Post
by Darren Beyer

We are all visual learners. I understand the value strong visuals bring to the game. That’s why, when I launched my first novel, I decided to seek out the best cover artist, the perfect person to take my words and put them into a stunning depiction of a scene from my story. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but everyone judges a book by its cover — and that’s just human nature.

A Case Study in Cover Design Continue reading “Covers Can Make or Break a Book”

What I Learned as a Book Cover Contest Judge

really bad book cover artAmong my favorite internet acronyms is AFLE. Translated loosely, the letters stand for another freaking learning experience. (Indies Unlimited is a safe-for-work site, okay?) I don’t know about you, but for me, that acronym perfectly sums up this whole indie author thing. No matter what your background, there’s going to be some component of this jack-of-all-trades business in which you’re going to need a crash course. Or professional help.

Art is one of those things for me. In school, I was an A or B student in everything but art. (Well, and physical education. But so far, nobody’s expected me to do pushups for my books, thank goodness.) So imagine my dismay when I realized I was going to have to design covers for my books. Luckily, I have a couple of friends who are much better in graphic arts than I am, as well as two daughters who know their way around Photoshop. I treasure their advice to this day. Continue reading “What I Learned as a Book Cover Contest Judge”

Why You Might Need Your Own Book Cover Focus Group

author decisions good-1123013__180We all know the number one goal for us authors is to write a kick-ass book. However, a kick-ass book that no one reads or ever knows about doesn’t amount to much. We may know how great it is, but a little outside validation would be nice. Enter goal number two: a kick-ass cover. Yes, it’s a secondary goal, but it’s actually primary to our book marketing and promotion. I tend to think of the cover of a book as a door. It may invite us inside, or it may bar the way. It may entice us with mystery or bore us with blandness. It may beckon with romantic tension, or spur us on our way with horrific shivers.

And part of the problem is that we, as the authors, know what the book is about. We know what happens inside, but our readers don’t. We have to create a cover that will convey a sense of the story without giving away the store. So how will we know if our cover is appealing? How will we know if the cover identifies our genre and gives an enticing idea of the story? Continue reading “Why You Might Need Your Own Book Cover Focus Group”

Missing Data

One of the biggest and most frustrating challenges authors face is marketing our books.

Part of the reason for this is that we deal with incomplete or misleading data. That means we’re guessing.

We respond to anecdotes. If someone reports great success with KDP select, we try it. If it falls flat for us, we scratch our heads. Continue reading “Missing Data”