I’ve been meaning to do some posts on cover creation, but posting, in general, hasn’t been much on my mind. So here’s a tidbit that’s about more than just designing the cover. This month’s collection of ebook cover design awards from The Book Designer has the usual quality range, from superb to pretty awful. But one non-outstanding cover stopped me in my tracks.
The Light earned the critique: “Like other covers without a strong “hook” there’s not much going on here, and no particular reason for browsers to be interested.” Very true. It’s the kind of cover I would skip over without even wondering what it was about. The design is a somewhat blurry photo of woods, with an uninteresting title font treatment, author’s name that’s so small that it’s difficult to read, and below that a yellow bar which presumably has more information but is impossible to read because of the size and poor contrast.
But what really stands out for me is that the title tells me nothing. It’s so generic as to lack all meaning. Even ignoring the design, a title should convey something to a possible buyer. Simple titles like this are very easy to come up with, but they rarely work except for well-known authors with some kind of brand that readers already recognize. And those writers generally have professional covers that support the title.
In this example, nothing in the cover design offers even a slight hint of the genre or subject. Does it (whatever “it” is) take place in the woods? Maybe the sun shining through the trees at the top of the cover is relevant, but in what way?
The lesson here is that the title is just as important as the cover in drawing the reader’s attention. I’d say it’s even more important because an intriguing title may be able to overcome a weak cover design. But it’s very difficult to design a meaningful cover for a weak title.
This cover is about halfway down the page. Also read what the author has to say about the design and decide whether it actually does what he says it does.