Cover stories –Unveiling tales within

I don’t know about, you I do look at book covers, and if they don’t appeal to me, I don’t even bother looking at the book!

So, obviously book covers are very important, and often the thing that people do themselves, rather than pay for a professional book designer.

Book covers should:

  1. Grab your attention – so potential readers look at your book as one for their TBR pile next to their bed. Looking at the cover do they want to invest time in reading that book?
  2. The image can be a number of things. A photograph, an illustration, geometric shapes, or just interesting colours.  The main things is the image should showcase the true spirit of your book.

      3.  The words on your cover should include; the title; the subtitle (if you have one), and the authors name.  The size of text is important, and there should be a hierarchy             to bring the words to the reader’s attention. So, the title should be larger than the subtitle.

What does a well-designed book cover look like?

  1. They give readers a sneak peak of what’s to come. Readers should also get a general idea about the content, by what’s on the front and back cover.
  2. The book cover should let the readers know the books genre. In addition to the blurb on the back, the cover design should clearly tell readers what to expect.
  3. You should introduce your protagonist on the cover. Being able to establish a connection with the protagonist before the reader opens the book is vital, if you want to engage their interest.
  4. Your cover should also match the tone of your book.  Whether it’s humorous, a thriller, or a tear-jerker. A cartoon illustration is probably not going match a book about grief. Whereas a cartoon type illustration is very popular for Rom Com books.
  5. Book cover design is well worth spending money on for a professional designer, rather than ‘having a go’ yourself. The colour palette is very important and worth looking into the psychology of colour.
  6. Your covers should have their own distinct style so that they stand out from all of the others in your genre. You want them to be able to recognise your books in the future.
  7. The blurb on the back is where you pull your readers in, after they’ve been intrigued by the cover, your words should entice them in even further.

For my first novel, ‘He is Not Worthy’ I published with an independent publisher, but have since taken control of my own book. 

I was going to use the to find a designer, however, another author friend introduced me to her designer, whose work I love.

Dee Dee has now designed me a cover for a short story, and she has just designed the cover for my second novel – which will be out next year.

The important thing if you are writing a series is that your covers are instantly recognisable as part of that series.

I recently talked about two of my friends in my blog about writing series – Pauline Tait’s – The Maren Bay series, and G J Kemp, the Acre Series.

Although they are both stand-alone novels, the books can also be read as a series. In Pauline’s case, her books are based in the same place – the Isle of Skye. Gavin’s books take place in the same fantasy land, but also, some of his characters appear in the different books – although not always as the main protagonist 0but there is a crossover.

As soon as you see their books, it is obvious they are part of a series. (Their books are at the top of the blog).

My books are stand-alone novels. They’re not set in the same place, but there is some crossover of characters.  However, you could read each of the novels alone, and not having read the other books doesn’t impact on the story you’re reading.

Having said this, my three books need to have covers that are in the same style, with the same type of mood.  This is where my book designer comes in, with her expertise and skills to create the best outcome.

Getting the design right is a continuing conversation between us.  She initially asks me questions about the story, the main characters and the main theme. After doing some research she then comes back to me with some ideas.

Because one of my characters in the latest book is from the past, I needed the image to look like someone from that time, and not just some modern woman, with modern make-up, dressed in vintage clothes!

I also had a very clear idea about the boat I wanted in the image. It wasn’t a sailing ship, and it wasn’t a modern liner, but a boat similar to the Titanic in age and style.

Eventually, between us, Dee Dee has come back with an image that captures my idea brilliantly.

If you are having problems working out what you want for a cover, Google book cover trends, and you’ll see lots of examples.

At the moment, there is a definite trend for covers with what I’d call, embellished decoration on them. Such as Isabel Allende’s book ‘The Wind Knows My Name’ and ‘Devotion’ by Hannah Kent (both on Amazon).

I’m happy to reveal my new cover for ‘Echoes of Drowning’. The book is now available to pre-order on Amazon:

It will be published in May 2024.