What do you like in a book cover? Does it matter if you “like” a cover? Isn’t a cover just your book’s face on the world? Should it provide a feeling about the type of book? To that question at least, the answer is yes. Your cover should give a hint at the type of book this is, romance, mystery, dark thriller, horror. But beyond that, and the cliches in all these genres cover-wise are legion, what defines a great book cover?
This question comes up more frequently now that so many of us are designing our own book covers, for e-books or our independent originals. One of my books, One O’clock Jump, has now had five different covers. St. Martin’s Press originally did a cover that was rejected in favor of this one:
The rejected first cover was this one (which became the cover for Sweet and Lowdown, thereby saving St. Martin’s some dough)
And the two more e-book covers looked like this… and this.
So, who knows which one is best. It’s subjective. What grabs you may not grab the next person. I’m looking for some answers myself. It’s easy to change an e-book cover if it doesn’t work for you. But what makes a cover great? What makes a cover sell a book? Can you tell a book by its cover?
Here’s a discussion of book covers at Marketing tips for Authors.