You know why I love working with authors? They are so passionate about what they do. Get an author talking about their book, they can go on for an hour, waxing poetic about whatever it is they are writing about. But then you go online and look for this amazing book, and you think – that can’t be right. That cover is AWFUL.
While we all try to teach our children not to judge a book by its cover, in reality, most of us do. A good cover is a reflection of the contents. And if a book’s cover is mediocre, chances are that people will assume the book itself is, too.
A good cover designer will be able to listen to you talk about your book and get into it with you. As a writer, your strength is painting pictures with words. A designer is an artist, and their strength is using your words to paint a beautiful picture. A good cover is a visualization of the book’s ideas and concepts. If the book is an epic adventure set on a different planet, you should get a sense of that from the cover. If it is a biography, looking at the cover should give you a feel for what kind of person you will read about. A history book? Entice your potential readers with glimpses into a vanished world. Every book, even the most dry, has something in it upon which a good designer can build an alluring cover.
So make it easier on your readers, who have to scroll through thousands of books online every time they want something to read. Make sure your cover jumps off the shelf (or page), not because it’s ugly, but because it is a beautiful representation of the goodies inside.