Yes, You Should Judge A Book By Its Cover

There's a saying that goes, "You can't judge a book by its cover." When it comes to books, however, readers may leave the book on the shelf if the cover does not get their attention. 

Book covers are a critical feature in the publishing process. 
A book cover displays in images and text what a book is all about. A well-designed front cover can capture readers' attention and motivate them to purchase the book. What's more, a well-written back cover tells the reader who you are and provides a synopsis of your book. 

Many times, authors are so focused on writing, that they do not give much—if any—thought to their cover until they have completed their manuscript. Cover design should be considered even before writing begins. Not all authors will have ideas for book covers, which is why it is important to contact an artist or graphic designer who can create covers for them. 

MANA spoke with Bryant Messer, owner of Dreams and Visions, a graphic arts company, about the importance of designing attractive book covers: 

MANA: How important is it to have an attractive book cover?
Bryant: Well, for me, it's what piques my interest. If it catches my eye, I'll be more likely to pick the book up to see what it is about.

MANA: How important is it (for an author) to have other visuals?
Bryant: A lot of people like myself are very visual. If it's something I'm reading to learn how to do a particular task, visuals that give examples give a better understanding of what it is I'm trying to do. In most cases for me, I learn strictly from visual aids.

MANA: How should a publisher or author work with an artist/designer?
Bryant: Be on the same page (pun intended). Seriously though, as long as there is an understanding of what the author wants, the artist should be able to bring that point to life however he can artistically.

MANA: Why should self-published authors strongly consider using a professional artist/designer rather than doing one on their own or using the work by a friend?
Bryant: It's hard to say. But if I was the author, it would be for the quality. I feel like, if they are professionals, there's a certain level of quality that I would expect they would have over someone I know personally who is just a good artist in my eyes. 

MANA: What got you interested in beginning your own company, "Dreams and Visions"?
Bryant: Family first. So many in my family are business owners or have a skill they use as another source of income. Then I would say some of my favorite entertainers and how I see them use their talents to create multiple businesses and companies all based on the things they love. Making their job become more of a hobby and something they truly love to do. The idea of being my own boss and being able to do what I want when I choose to also inspires me. To be able to live off of ideas I create in my head and bring them to life wherever I am is motivation. 

Tips on Book Covers 

If you plan to self-publish a book, here are a few tips to consider about book cover designs:

1. Tie the book's theme into the book cover design. An effective graphic design can actually summarize a book through a visual display. 
2. Use color on the cover. Colors make the cover attractive and make the book stand out over others.
3. Decide whether to use a photograph or artwork. Photographs typically work well with non-fiction work. Illustrations usually work with fiction. Try different images to see what will work best for your cover.
4. Select the appropriate fonts for your cover. A font consists of the style and size of the text characters or type. Usually, a font is chosen based on what the book is about. For instance, romance novels typically use elegant script fonts. A book on business could use a Georgia or New Century Schoolbook font. For subtitles, you may want to use the same font, but in a different size and color. 
Get Help If You Need It

If designing a book cover seems overwhelming, then consult a professional graphic designer, artist, or photographer. You may have to pay a consulting fee, but it will be money well spent. 
Explain to the professional what your book is about or better yet, let them read excerpts from your book to help them generate ideas for the cover. You may want to yield to their recommendations, particularly if this is your first time self-publishing a manuscript. 
A word of advice: Avoid having a family member or friend create a book cover design for you unless that person is a professional designer. You want your book to look as if it had been traditionally published and not as if you skimped on paying money for a quality cover. After all, your book will be competing for the attention of readers who are also viewing traditionally published books. 
If you are not sure about designing your own book cover or do not know how to hire a book cover designer, then contact (MANA). MANA has many resources available for first-time authors, including book cover design services. So, if you do not have a book designer, contact MANA. We'll be happy to help you. 
Email MANA at or call us at 734-975-0028.  

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