Cinnabar Bridge

June 8, 2006

Judging a book by its cover

We don’t like to think we are so shallow. Judging a book by its cover has come to have many levels of meaning in our culture. We don’t want to be shallow, but we all seem up against the belief that pretty ones do better in the world and life. That how we present ourselves to the world matters — from getting a partner to making more money.

Well, with books it’s the same thing. In our time challenged lives, we make choices all the time about stuff based on first impressions. I read somewhere that bookstore visitors spend about 8 seconds on the front cover of a book and if they turn to the back cover, they spend another 15 seconds. So, you tell me. Is the cover important?

It is. It is critical. It is the heart of your marketing image. Your brand. Go to a bookstore and look at some book covers. Many of the home style books have a similar feel. The cook books do too. My mysteries and suspense novels have a look as well.

So, the trick is to use those styles, so you are thought of in the right competitive frame, and yet be different enough, compelling enough to get them to turn the book over and read on.

If you don’t understand graphic design; if you don’t understand book covers, get someone who does to help you with yours. And remember, these days, you want your cover to look good (if not readable) when it is thumbnail size on

In another posting, I’ll go into more detail about what goes into good cover design.


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