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Got ya covered! How to pick a killer one for your story

Yeah, yeah, everyone always says “never judge a book by its cover.” The thing is, we always do. So why not give your story the best chance to get read by as many people as possible? More clicks, more views, more favorites, more you, shared with the world. Now doesn’t that sound fabulous? Yep, we thought so. Here are three things to think about before you hit publish with a fresh cover.

 

#1: Look at other covers in your genre to establish a baseline

While you certainly don’t have to fall into the norms of your chosen genre, it’s helpful to scroll through a bunch to see what other writers and artists are doing to market books similar to yours. Why? Because that’s what readers expect to see, that’s what’s going to say “this is fantasy! this is romance!” Screenshot covers that appeal to you and covers that you hate, and take note of each and make of list of likes and loathes to keep in mind when you start designing your own look.

 

#2: Brainstorm one image that represents your book

OK, now put away all the covers you’ve looked at, pull out a notepad and start fresh. Write down words—adjectives, emotions—you want your cover to evoke when your readers see it. Scribble down ideas, including the sorts of images—people, places, symbols, objects—you want to include, where you want your title to be, how big you want your name, etc.

 

#3: Consider images and fonts

Now it’s time to start designing! With image editors on smartphones and computers, it’s cinchy to create a pretty good looking cover by yourself, without paying anything for pictures. If you’re good at drawing, consider doodling or painting something, then scanning it into your computer. If you’re handy with a camera, take a walk and snap some pictures that might just work for your story. Play with colors, filters, overlays and more to get the look you want. Last but certainly not least: Your font. Consider carefully. A creepy crawly font is great for a horror story, but a little off for a romance, whereas a curly-cue script is fab for a love story, but all wrong for a more pensive drama.

published April 25, 2014
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