C is for Cover…
In 1947 DeBeers launched what was later touted as the best advertising slogan of the 20th Century, “A Diamond is Forever.”
With that slogan, came the idea that a man desiring to ask a woman to marry him should save a month’s salary for the engagement ring. In more modern times, that has been increased to three month’s salary.
It’s a lot of money, but of course it’s worth it, right? You’re supposed to look at the ring as an investment in the proposal and your marriage and your future. An investment means laying out some cash and they made that clear in their advertising campaign. That campaign has lasted for generations.
Publishing is the same. EVERYTHING done to prepare for publishing a novel is an investment in the future. Treat it that way. SAVE for it, just like you would for an engagement ring.
The book needs editing, proofreading, formatting… These are the foundation of the ring, they mold the shank, the gallery and the setting.
I’m a Book Cover Designer. So I’d like to focus on the Cover Design. If the story is the diamond, the cover is the “Bling” that indicates to potential readers how much work and care is put into the book itself. It should be chosen with the same care given to selecting the perfect stone for an engagement ring. Be careful who you have creating that cover for you. Designer Kris Miller, of the Saima Agency, warns authors who want to be taken seriously against treating a book cover as a do-it-yourself project. “I try to educate them that Photoshop, like a paint brush or a pencil, is only a tool—what’s important is who wields it. A designer with over two decades of professional experience is going to do a far better job designing your cover than your well-meaning friend who happens to have Photoshop Elements on their laptop. It’s an old adage, but you get what you pay for.”
A well designed book cover is easier to market. There are bloggers and reviewers out there who won’t touch a book if it doesn’t have a professionally designed cover. If your book is easy to merchandise, it’s more likely to be noticed or accepted by retail stores.
According to Mark Coker, founder of SmashWords, there is a clear correlation between a good cover and good, steady sales. “In addition to promising what a book will deliver, the [cover] image also promises (or fails to promise) that the author is a professional, and that the book will honor the reader’s time.”
Curiously, cover design is often one of the very last things that authors plan for their book. When planning for yours, keep in mind that good cover designers are generally booked months in advance. Find the designer who you want to work with at least 4-6 months before you want to publish and get on their schedule.
Do some homework well ahead of time. Figure out what everything costs and when it should be scheduled. Start saving so your book can put its best foot forward. It probably won’t cost you 3 months salary, but treat it with as much respect as you would want for that engagement ring.
They’re both an investment in your future…. If it’s done right, a diamond isn’t the only thing that’s “forever”.