The fact is people DO judge a book by its cover. In my time, I have seen some great ones, creative ones, some out-of-the-box thinking ones, some I don’t get and some (quite frankly) shady or even in the abysmal category. The latter making me think, ‘what were you thinking?’ I have found all these categories both in the traditionally published books as well as self-published books. Focusing on self-published books, after speaking to many aspiring/new authors and self-publishers, the reason for some of the sub-standard or ill-thought out covers has been due to their presumptions of the costs of book cover design.
The title of a book can become a selling tool to help sell a book. It does this by effectively conveying what the book is about or at least give an inkling of what lies between the pages (I have seen vague titles that intrigue me enough to search inside or download a few chapters. Mind you, I don’t do this all the time!). Get it wrong and authors and publishers alike leave prospective buyers scratching their heads as to what the book is about.
Picture this: In one corner, we have authors with placards saying things like, ‘I’m a writer not a seller’ or ‘Selling is NOT my job’ and on the other corner, we have Marketing and publicity experts with their placards saying, ‘thou must help us sell your book’ or ‘check your contract!’. And so the battle goes with each camp believing they are right.
Marketers will argue that authors need to get involved with the business of selling books. Whilst some (not all) authors just want to be left alone to do the creative thing they do. They don’t want to be dragged away from their passion, kicking and screaming, into our social media driven world.
I have been proofreading my fourth title, Quit Hiding, Start Living! How Women Can Free Themselves From Past Hurts (ISBN: 978-0-9562606-6-6, Out in 2012) before it goes off to the printers in the next day or two. Several hours (into the night seasons/early hours) and 41,000 words later, I can say hand on heart, ‘I’m done!’.
When talking of quality, I refer not only to one aspect of your book like the cover or layout, I mean the whole thing. One trap aspiring authors fall into is failing to deliver a good quality book, through and through. Many often cut corner thinking they are saving themselves money.
The fact is people DO judge a book by its cover. And I have seen some shady/abysmal ones in my time. I find this a lot with self-published books. Understandably, taking on the project yourself can cost money (mind you, not as much as it used to) but it really does not cost that much to get an experienced freelancer to help create a wow cover that is essentially a selling tool for your book.