Friday, July 26, 2013

The Book Cover - A Window to the Story-line

Now what?     

     I'm sure many an author has faced the dilemma.  The manuscript is written, the story complete, but how do you convey to a reader passing by, the contents of the book within?  A cover of a book is no small thing.   Some reviewers decide whether to review a book based on the cover alone.  In her review of Guiamo, Leila of Lifeasleels wrote,

          "99% of the time, when I pick a book to read (or to review), I base it on the cover."

     We all know of those hole in the wall restaurants that are fabulous but also "unknown" to the majority.  You may have a great story, or a great restaurant, but if your presentation doesn't catch the eye of the consumer, well, you're not going far.

So where do you start?

     Looking at a cover should be a bit like peering into a window of a house watching the happenings within.  You can't hear the voices, you don't know the conversation, but you can get a general idea of what is going on.  The cover should represent the story and its significance.  You wouldn't want to have a picture of a peaceful garden on the front of a story about war.  In addition, a complex cover is not always best.  Remember, the customer often glances over covers.  Too much complexity in an image may overwhelm.  It's good if you can create curiosity with your cover, causing the reader to pause to see what the story is about.  If the cover is a ho hum copy of every other book in your genre, it will most likely get lost in the shuffle.  Think about what makes your story unique, different.  Can you represent that in some way on the cover?  Is there an item of significance that could stand as a symbol for the story?  For example, the Roman Gladius is used on the cover of Guiamo.  Although the story starts with his abandonment as a young boy, the sword speaks of things to come.  For Cumoro, Guiamo's magic ring was chosen.  Although he receives the ring in book one, it becomes much more significant in the story in book two.  A cover doesn't have to be complex to be well received.



Which Cover Designer Do You Use?

    Finding a designer will be the next step.  We were fortunate to know a graphic artist who was not only our friend but extremely talented as well.  Most aren't so fortunate.  Ask for references.  Contact authors whose artwork you admire and ask if they would be willing to share the names of those they worked with.  It's important that the person you work with is not only talented but easy to work with.  They need to be able to understand what you are looking for and be patient as you try to get it right.  If you are looking for someone to work with, we would highly recommend Jim Pardew.  You won't be disappointed.  You can learn more about him below.  You've put your hard work into the manuscript.  Make sure you do the same with the cover.  It represents your story to the world.


Jim Pardew is happily married to Donna and is a father of their two awesome kids. He has over 20 years of professional experience in graphic design. He developed his abilities in print design and visual communications while working extensively as a graphic designer in the publishing realm. 

During his career, he has designed for numerous businesses and non-profit organizations in a variety of markets. His areas of expertise include print and web design, marketing, and brand development. His work has appeared nationally on Fox News, Oprah and The Today Show. 


Jim especially enjoys book cover design and would love to design your next cover or graphic project. If interested, he can be reached via email at: pardewjd@sbcglobal.net. To see more of his work, visit www.krop.com/JamesPardew.

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