“According to Hubspot, 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.” This is brain language for Your Cover Matters. More than your title. Maybe more (initially) than your content. People really do judge books by their covers. At the very least, they often decide to purchase a book based on cover.
So, if you are self-publishing, what can you do to make sure that your book cover is transmitting the “Buy me. Buy me,” message?
Here are 3 tips you might not have considered:
- Don’t just think about your target audience. Consider your target generation.
According to Stauss and Howe, who coined the theory on generations, here are the current generations in the United States:
- Greatest Generation – 1930-1946
- Baby Boomers – 1946-1964
- Generation X – 1965-1984
- Generation Y/Millennials – 1982-2004
- Generation Z- 2004 – Current
If you take time to familiarize yourself and research your target generation prior to designing your cover, you will notice facts about what each generation prizes, things they buy/don’t buy, causes they care about, images they appreciate, etc. Applying this information to your cover might auto-attract your consumer.
- Your book cover is your handshake with the consumer.
Consider an image that represents your overall content, but does not feel like an inside joke to your potential reader. i.e. My working title for Faking Normal was once 23. While 23 was a powerful metaphor within the book, it was ultimately one that you had to read the book to understand. Faking Normal was a much broader invitation that made people say, “Faking Normal, I do that everyday. I wonder …” 23 wasn’t an invitation; it was a middle school clique that excluded the consumer. Covers can’t afford to be middle school cliques either. They must invite the consumer into the work from across the room.
- Ask yourself “What cover would make me buy my own book?”
I suggest you try this exercise: Go to a bookstore. Imagine you’re going to beach or getting on an airplane and you need to find something to read. Go pick up ten titles based on the covers. Lay them out and snap a photo of them with your phone. (Return or buy the books.) Go home and analyze that photo. What are you attracted to about those books? What made you pick them up? You can’t steal those book covers, but you can look for markers among them to include in your cover.
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