Judging a book by its cover…

Think about all the images we’re bombarded with everyday via smartphones, computers, television, bus posters, billboards, and more.

It simply isn’t true that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Your book cover is advertising for your book. It needs to have immediate appeal to your target audience; it needs to tweak their interest in a split second.

The cover consists of three elements: front, spine and back. The front cover and spine should provide instant visual appeal. Clarity and simplicity are key elements.ver

The back cover is an opportunity to pique the reader’s interest, and usually includes a synopsis of the book, the author’s photo, and some third-party comments (reviews) of the book.

Text on the front cover consists of a title, frequently a sub-title describing the content in more detail, the author’s name, and publisher’s name if you desire.

Titles are important! You may have a title in mind, but ask yourself if the phrase will quickly and accurately inform a potential reader about the book’s content? The book will have a better chance of winning a reader if the reader can immediately identify what it is about.

Spines must also be visually appealing, and typically include the book title and author’s name. The publisher’s logo may also be included.

We have found that great care must be taken when designing a book’s spine, as the inks on perfect-bound books tend to crack when a book is opened. This is because laser printers lay a layer of ink on top of the paper; the inks do not soak into the paper as they do in traditionally printed paper that is run through a printing press. Covers with solid, dark colours near the spine tend to show this cracking of the ink. The options are to change the graphic design of the spine region, or to laminate or UV-coat the cover. A coating for the cover is generally factored into the print estimate.

Again, to research effective cover design, we recommend a visit to your favourite book store or library. Which colours catch your eye? How much text is too much text on a book cover? What is it about the book you’re looking at that drew your attention? Will your target audience be drawn to the same concept?

Any input you have in the cover design process will assist Webb Publishing in creating your best final product.

Webb Publishing is happy to design a cover for your book, or work with your graphic designer. There are specifications required by printers and binders, so an outside designer needs to liaise with Webb Publishing to ensure compatibility of design.

“Readership is highly dependent upon format and distribution as much as it is on content.”

Sara Sheridan
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