Friday, March 13, 2015

Six things that make a good cover: Some cover design advice from the trenches.

1.    Concept. Your cover should reflect the atmosphere and genre of your book, but it’s not supposed to tell the story. It’s meant to intrigue, tease, and entice a potential reader to WANT to read it. Try for originality. Copying existing covers will bore your viewer and possibly turn them off.

2.     Simplicity. A good cover should not bombard your reader with chaotic images. Give it the three-second test. A viewer should be able to look at your cover and in three seconds, grasp the message the cover is intended to deliver.

3.    Visibility A good cover is visible at a very small size, as these days, that is the main way it will be presented to your reader.

4.     Typography. Call me a type snob, but if your type is poor, it doesn’t matter if Rembrandt himself designed your art. TYPE IS EVERYTHING. And what do I mean by that? Hierarchy: What’s important should LEAP out at you (as in your title). If the title is invisible against the background art because it is too small, not bold enough or too similar in tone or color to the background, or if the background is too bub. Legibilu

5      Color Is key. It is a tool to make your cover unique and set the mood.

Here are some covers I love and I'll tell you why. I'm not even going to see what they are about or even check their genre. I'm going to guess--because covers should speak for themselves. After I speak my opinion, I'm going to check the summaries after.

I like this cover because of its contemporary style and vibrant colors. 

It would certainly catch my eye. 

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, This Song Will Save Your Life is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

I find this evocative. I LOVE the way the type is integrated into the image and the sunset colors of a beachside town. From the look of it, I can tell this is a northern locale. There is something disquieting about the image and I'm going to assume this is not a comedy.

Red Paint calls itself "the friendliest town in Maine," a place where everyone knows one another and nothing too disturbing ever happens. Native son Simon Howe is a sturdy family man--a good father and husband--and owner-editor of the town's newspaper. Because there's rarely any real news, he runs stories about Virgin Mary sightings, high school reunions, and petty criminals.

One day Simon's predictable and peaceful life is disrupted by the arrival of an anonymous postcard, the first in a series of increasingly menacing messages. He tries to ignore them, but the implied danger becomes more real, threatening to engulf his wife and son as well. The Howe family becomes engaged in a full-scale psychological battle with their unidentified stalker--without even knowing it. Secrets from Simon's past are uncovered, escalating toward a tense and unexpected climax.

More than a conventional mystery or thriller, Reunion at Red Paint Bay is an exploration of the consequences of guilt, denial, and moral absolutism. Harrar weaves a dramatic and suspenseful tale sure to spur readers into examining the limits of responsibility for one's actions.

See! I was right--an evocative thriller that takes place in Maine.

Ominous. Historic. Bad things are going to happen here, for sure.

 A move to a small seaside town gives Billie a chance at a new life and new love -- until the undertow of the past pulls her toward a shocking secret. 

When sixteen-year-old Billie Paradise unexpectedly inherits her grandmother's house, it couldn't come at a better time. With her stepdad abroad and her mom starting to lose it, moving from their cramped London apartment to an old house by the sea seems serendipitous. Maybe Billie, as she navigates the small-town social scene and falls for a certain intriguing older boy, can even find the father she never met. But her mom's remote childhood home, which she left in haste before Billie was born, harbors hints of suspicious long-ago deaths and family secrets. As Billie's story unfolds, flowing back and forth in time and through alternate points of view, it becomes clear that while people may die, the past lives forever.

See? Shocking family secrets!

I'm guessing, fast-paced, hip, flip, edgy. May be a black comedy?  I LOVE the way the author's name echoes the vertical type on the signs. 

 Sixteen-year-old Violet is thrilled when her father's new painting commission means a summer trip to Japan. But what starts as an exotic vacation quickly turns sour when a priceless sketch by van Gogh is stolen from her father's client and held ransom for a painting by the artist. The problem is that nobody knows where the painting is hidden, and until they find it, all their lives are in danger. 

Joined by her friend Reika, Violet searches for the missing van Gogh in a quest that takes her from the Seattle Art Museum to the yakuza-infested streets of Tokyo to a secluded inn in Kyoto. As the mystery deepens, Violet's not sure whom she can trust. But she knows one thing: she has to find the painting and the criminals--before it's too late.

Danger--doesn't seem to have much humor, but who can say?

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