“Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is an over used cliche and in the world of eBooks it is a piece of advice that most are ignoring anyway. Your book cover might be the only chance you get to catch the attention of the browsing public as they scroll through hundreds of thumbnail images. It is like a tiny billboard screaming for attention from a sea of other tiny, competing billboards. Title and genre decidedly play a part in narrowing down one’s choice of a book, but don’t discount the impact that cover art plays in the sale of a book.
Design is all around us. People tend to gravitate towards good design and shy away from poor design. When Apple released the original iPhone in 2007, the public couldn’t get enough of the palm-sized, glass and chrome slabs, which eventually spawned an army of wannabe competitors. Today the sleek, glass front and thin, rectangular body has grown ubiquitous among smartphones. The design is streamlined and functional, and lets face it, looks pretty cool.
Now think back to when the first cellular phones came out in 1984. They were functional and used cutting-edge technology of the time, but the shoe box sized phones were ugly and cumbersome, not to mention expensive (nearly $4,000). They were big on engineering, size, and price but short on design.
So, which approach do you want to take advantage of when representing your work on the electronic bookshelf—the brick phone or the iPhone? One might think that a rectangle or two of color, a nice type face, the title and author’s name all spelled correctly are all that are necessary to promote your book. Maybe you’ve been told to keep it simple. I mean, what more does one need on the cover, right? Wrong. How about including something that visually piques the interest of the credit card holder? Why not give some visual clues about what lies within?
You’ve poured hundreds of hours into crafting a book that you are proud of. You’ve sent it through an editor and possibly found someone to format it for you, why then would you want to scrimp on the one aspect that provides the customer with their very first impression? Like it or not, how the book looks on the “outside” reflects upon what one can expect to find on the “inside.”
If you have the time, skills, tools, and experience to design a quality cover, then have at it. Who else would know better how to distill the essence of a book down to a single graphic than the one who wrote it? However, if you don’t have clue about design, then I would encourage you to look to someone who does. Including a well thought out and executed cover to your eBook will help you reap rewards in the virtual marketplace.