While a great cover doesn’t make a great book, it does make a book that’s more likely to be opened. Hey, we spend about 2.5 seconds deciding whether or not to keep looking at a book — and 2.39 of those seconds are spent looking at the front cover. (Yes, I did make up those statistics.)
Trying to produce the ultimate cover for your masterpiece? I guess it goes without saying that you should choose your image carefully — you want a great shot, of course, but also one that will unify your book, and make its theme instantly apparent. Great covers are designed with the whole of the book in mind, so it might be worth taking a few moments to really consider the overall look and feel of the book, and the message you want it to convey. Then go back through your photos with all of this in mind, and select your top three images.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to three, you may want to solicit outside input. In fact, if you really want to put your friends and family through their paces, ask them to read this article on photo criticism and then critique your images in light of the article’s advice. It is your book, so don’t get talked into something you can’t stand, but do keep that outside input in the back of your mind when you make your final cover art selection.
Ready to create the cover in BookSmart? Remember that an image on the cover may look slightly different than the same image inside the books itself, and adjust your art accordingly.
For more inspiration, check out Penguin’s repackaging of their Great Ideas series, or take a look at the new versions of George Orwell’s books. Or, try this blog (referenced by Blurbarian Graham G in an earlier blog post — thanks Graham!) for ongoing critique and commentary. While most of these covers don’t utilize photographs, the explorations of theme, color, and typeface are all useful for the photographer, too. And (spoiler alert) we just may be covering cover design in greater depth later this week.
Need to get your photo on? Try this link for great photography-oriented cover design.