Don’t underestimate the power of your book cover.
In the day and age of recycling, I curse the sight of over-packaging, excess wrapping and enticingly looking marketed goods, but there is still one packaged item I love – a book. I’m not talking about the way it’s delivered or wrapped in the store, but it’s cover, the package that wraps it forever, binds it and gives it a home.
One of my majors at University was Art. Always fancied myself a bit arty, whatever that is, but I guess maybe that interest in colour, design and always tinkering in something ‘artful’. My art at uni was painting. I did huge landscapes, inspired by my travels to Argentina and Chile, I painted large glaciers and tried to capture their enormity and colour. I also experimented with felt making and loved the satisfaction of working this tactile craft. I’m not afraid to admit that a lot of marketing gets me in – I like the colour of something, or shape, presentation or feel. I’m aware of it though and when I feel the pull towards something that I know is purely because of it’s look and how its marketed, I can resist buying it. Non the less, for a second, it nearly has me.
So when it came to designing a cover for my book, no one needed to tell me how incredibly important this was. I love book covers. I’m also not afraid to admit that I will often buy a book purely because of its cover - in a bookshop or online, ebook or paperback. In the tactile sense I love the raised writing, glossy embossed titles that get me every time. Not flowery ones though, not italics or pretty ones, and I guess that reflects the genre I prefer. But they do get me in! And when you can't physically touch the cover it needs to catch your eye online, the reader needs to imagine how it feels.
Colours will draw my attention, and there’s a lot of orange on covers at the moment, and again, it gets me in. I’m drawn to it, pick it up, run my hands over it, then flip it over and read the blurb. And there it is, the book is almost mine!
My book, The Thai Wife, is an international crime novel that needed to reflect this genre, no cheerful cover for me, it needed to be understated yet noticed, I wanted people to pick it up. Back track a bit though and to be truthful, when I was publishing TTW I was only thinking short term and the thought of anyone buying the book was daunting, let alone adoring the cover …. The cover was important to me … to me … but I couldn’t take myself seriously as a writer so I wasn’t thinking too far ahead about sales and marketing. I still felt the importance of a good cover and thank goodness I asked a professional to design the cover and it was so worth it!
My cover designer, Bespoke Book Covers, based in London, was brilliant. Designer Peter O’Connor, communicated back and to about the book and when he came up with the cover, I loved it. He captured the river, the fishing boats, an Asian feel and that moody orange sky. It was perfect. To my creative eye it captured so much of the story inside that I was happy to have my novel live inside of it and call it home.
To cap it off, the book sold. And the feedback from readers (apart from enjoying the story, Phew!) is that they love the cover! It also has a velvety feel which I have no idea how that happened but it has. It’s lovely to pick up, feel the texture and turn over to read the blurb!
Recently I was told by an independent book seller that my book was selling because of the cover – I’m an unknown author, no one’s heard of my book but it gets picked up because of the cover. Wow, the power of packaging!