How do People Judge a Book by its Cover? Part 1

Several thick hardcover books stacked on top o...

Several thick hardcover books stacked on top of each other (Photo credit: Horia Varlan)

Okay, so you’ve heard the adage, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover.’  In the world of judgments and assumptions I am in agreement, because you never really know who someone is no matter their demeanor.

However, in the world of publishing a cover is judged as to whether or not someone wants to pick it up and read it.

We are visual people and our eyes like what they like. Now the great thing is that there are billions of people out there and every one likes something different, so you never know if your cover will intrigue someone enough to read your work.

Your cover needs to have certain criteria to make it attractive to readers.  So you have some things to do before you just hire a graphic or cover designer to begin creating.

First step is to head to a book store. Go to the genre you write and look at the covers.  What do they look like? What colors are being used? What kind of font draws you in? Be a consumer and see which books attract you. Why do you like them?

These questions are hugely valuable and will absolutely allow you to commit to an idea which is the first impression a reader will get of your work. Covers in the book stores are what the publishing industry call ‘shelf-ready’. Meaning they can go onto shelves in any retail establishment.

As self-published authors there has always been as stigma about what our covers look like. They don’t have that shelf-ready look that readers are looking for. Because the truth of the matter is that if a cover looks expensive then the readers are more drawn to the title.

Once you’ve done your homework then you need to do some research on cover designers. There are many places in the internet where you can find cover designs. Find a designer that you like and email them and ask if they will design your cover.

We’ll discuss the process of getting your cover design made in the next installment of the post called Do Judge a Book by its Cover: More Than Just Flourishes and Fonts Part 2

Lorena Bathey



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