Judging a book by it’s cover

While I still am cleaning up my YA Fantasy before it goes out to friends and family for a read, there are other more fun things to do too. Like Design a Cover!

I’ve worked as a graphic artist since graduating college so I know the value of an attractive cover and even more important, a professional one. I wince when I see low resolution images, obvious Photoshopping, armature illustrations, and, the very very worst BAD FONTS!

I could write an entire post on bad fonts. Maybe someday I will but for right now I will keep it simple. If you are designing your own marketing material or covers, keep your fonts simple. Engraver, Helvetica, Copperplate, Elephant, Impact. Avoid Papyrus, its been done to death, Lucida and Brush are dated and do not touch Comic Sans. Just don’t go near it. If you really want to use it google it first and then decide if you still love it.

Anyway, back to the point, if you are feeling intimidated now because you’ve been living your life thinking Lucida was the peak of coolness, I recommend you check out pre-made cover sites like the book cover designer. They have very reasonable prices for very attractive, professional book covers. You just type in your info and its done. No worries about fonts. I considered doing this as well. It would be much easier to be sure I got a professional cover, but I am a DIYer to a flaw and I want to use my mom’s work on my book cover.

So I went back at looked at some book covers I love.

“Of Bees and Mist” is an amazing modern fairy tale written by Erick Setiawan. The cover is understated, elegant but hard to ignore. Just like the book.

“American Gods” by Neil Gaiman. Its dark and intense. Its mysterious and its not busy or crowded.

“The Book of Atrix Wolfe”. Patricia McKillip used  Kinuko Craft’s beautiful and achingly whimsical art for several of her covers. They are classic fairy tale art, full of magic and sorrow. Just like McKillip’s book, this cover spins a web of enchantment.

None of these covers are the standard for today’s market. They’re all radically different from one another, just as their author’s style is, but they’ve all stuck with me as covers that drew me to the book, that complimented the story inside.

So what am I thinking for my book? I have an initial mock up in the works. I’m thinking a classic fairy tale style, simple, but meaningful. I’ll be posting it soon and I hope I can get some honest opinions on how to perfect it.


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