Tip #5: Your Book Cover is Your Most Important Marketing Tool

5. Your Book Cover is Your Most Important Marketing Tool

Not only does it have to be better than those $0.99 Kindle travesties that form the swill of cheap and nasty ebooks on Amazon, but it has to be better than the traditionally published stuff, because those are the books we are ultimately competing with.

Unless you are trained in graphic design and/or art direction, you have no business designing book covers. I know it’s fun, but how would you feel if a designer decided to just ‘write a book’ because he has Word on his Mac and he (kind of) knows how to type?

As with editing, cover design should be left to the experts. By all means, have a Pinterest board with all the images, illustrations and typography you feel is right for your book, and share that with your designer, but try not to be too prescriptive.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the most inviting design should win over the most relevant design. This can be difficult for authors to accept. We want a cover that sums up the book, but that is not the cover’s job. The cover’s job is to get someone to pick it up. Of course, the more the design suits the story, the better, but this is not its primary function.

So, where do you start?

• Write your design brief, and include a link to that Pinterest board, if you have one.

• Use a designer you trust, ask for recommendations, or use a company like 99 Designs.

• Decide on the fee upfront, including revisions.

• Make sure you get all the open files so that you can use them for future marketing.

Tip #6: Mastering the Countdown