Thursday, May 7, 2015

Covers And Titles

I've mentioned the need for an eye-catching cover.  I've written previously about the need for a good title.  However, as I was browsing through a book store this morning, I came to realize that these two things are not the separate entities that I once thought.

There are three things you need to get the attention of a buyer at a bookstore(and, in my opinion, on Amazon as well).  The final thing is a good back cover blurb that summarizes your book's plot in a way that leaves the reader wanting more.  However, prior to that, you need the reader to pick up your novel so he or she can even read that blurb, and in order to do that, you need a cover and title.

The cover is the first thing that gets noticed.  It's a book's way of saying "Hi!  Come on up and see me, big boy."  It has to be alluring in a way that doesn't come off as cheap.  Too many bright and dazzling colors, and the reader will ignore it for being silly.  Too bland, and most will assume that what's inside will be boring too.

However, the title is only a fraction of a second behind the cover.  Sometimes, in fact, it occurs simultaneously.  I know that I look at a title and wonder two things - first, is it something that makes me want to know more, and second, does the title match the cover?

I think that second point often gets overlooked.  All too often a title and cover won't match.  You may come across something that reads Vampirical Midnight, yet the cover is neon green and has a picture of a clown on it.  Or perhaps you see a cover that's splattered in blood, with the shadow of a serial killer in the background, but the book is titled Zippy And The High Handed Day.  Either one would immediately cause me to put the book down without even reading the back cover blurb.

This is where the indie movement has and advantage over traditional authors.  In the traditional world, unless you're well established, you have, at best, a minor say over the cover, and barely more over the title.  Yes, you read that right - the publisher can(and often has) change your title.  Plus, they have their own artists and editors that will pick your cover for you.  However, as an indie writer, you get to do all that.  Yes, some view it as a pain, but who knows better than you what you want to convey to the reader?  You get to match up the cover and title, so it's all on you.

Spend time and match the title you sought with the cover you're building.  Together, they can draw in readers.  If they're done wrong, they can drive them away.

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