Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG - Ask PZM - book covers

It's that the first Wednesday in the month again, which means Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thanks to our noble Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, it's time to share our fears and insecurities, or support and assistance. Doesn't matter which. 


If you'd like to join, click here.

Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Our hashtag is #IWSG

IWSG's awesome co-hosts for the October 1 special anniversary posting of the IWSG will be Kristin Smith,Elsie, Suzanne Furness, and Fundy Blue!



  Be sure to visit the
Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website!!!


The IWSG Team is putting together an eBook that will benefit all writers -The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. And we invite all IWSG members, Facebook members, and followers to contribute. 

Here are the details: 

The three topics will be writing, publishing, and marketing. 

Each contribution needs to be between 200 and 1000 words. Focus on one of those three aspects and give us your best tip or procedure. The essay can include bullet points, top ten lists, and recommendations. (Websites, software, books, etc.) 

You can either post it for your October 1 IWSG post or email it directly toTheIWSG AT gmail.com or alexjcavanaugh ATearthlink.net (Since the length can go over the standard IWSG post length.) Include a one sentence byline and a link to your site. Also state that you give us permission to use it in the book and which topic it falls under. (We will only edit for misspellings and grammar mistakes.) 

All submissions need to be sent or posted by October 2, 2014. We will compile them into an eBook and aim for an early December release. The book will be free and available for all eReaders. 


Here's an important reposting from Ask PZM, March 2010


How important is my book cover?

The front cover of your book is very important, and it is even more so in this age of Internet book buying.


Let’s think about this. You’ll be promoting your book online and linking to its Amazon page or a page on your website where the book can be bought. The cover is one of the strongest emotional connections you can create with a prospective reader.

Look at the size of book covers on Amazon. How clearly can you read the title, the author’s name, “register” what the cover image projects?

That’s how small your book cover will be. And this is why you can’t look at a physical book cover and determine its effectiveness based on that size.

If you doubt this wisdom, think about billboards you’ve driven by. How many times can you barely read the main tagline? Have you wondered why the company and the advertising agency didn’t notice the type was too small or too fancy to read quickly as you drove by?

The answer is that those people looked at the billboard prototype while standing still and not at the distance from which a driver sees most billboards.

The same with your book cover. You have to forget about how you see the cover and put yourself in the mindset of how someone with the attention-span of a half a second will look at your cover.

If you want expert book cover advice, check out John Kremer’s website www.bookmarket.com – he offers book cover consulting. And on a recent book marketing teleseminar for which I was his guest, he rightly noted a problem with the cover of my novel “Mrs. Lieutenant.”

(The words “A Sharon Gold Novel” should not be shoved up right under “Mrs. Lieutenant.” I’ve had advertising design training and I should have noticed this problem but didn’t.)

Cautionary warning: Yes, I know that self-published authors have much more control over their covers than do authors whose books have a traditional publisher. Still, if you think your cover won’t “read” well online, ask your agent to discuss your concerns with your publisher.



Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a fiction and nonfiction author who blogs on book-related topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com


If you have a question you'd like to ask Phyllis for her ASK PZM: November 2014, email it to cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca and I'll pass it along. 



47 comments :

  1. That's why I'm very grateful for the awesome covers my publisher has created!

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    1. Me, too, Alex. It's an awesome cover.

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    2. Wow, Alex! I thought you created your own covers with your background! They're great!

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  2. Hi Joylene - makes so much sense - it's necessary to look at things professionally and use the experts if possible ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks, Hilary. I have images of tomatoes running through my mind now. LOL

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  3. You're right! Although I know how important a book cover is (that's what I tend to shop by ;) ), I never thought about the small, quick look on Amazon thing. Great tip!

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  4. Thanks, Joylene and PZM! This is sound information. I am VERY visual, so a cover has to grab me visually! Tricky in an eCover.

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    1. Tricky in an ebook, yes, but I still find myself drawn to certain covers when I'm visiting the sites. Lots to think about, for sure. Thanks, Fundy.

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  5. Thanks for doing this re-post. I can see why you shared it. It's chock full of great advice. It's true, we have to put ourselves in the mindset of the buyer, not us. Hard to do sometimes.

    Elsie
    co-host IWSG

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  6. Yes, make the text legible in a thumb image. And hire a professional. Most writers should stick to writing. Besides, that image is the first impression someone will have of your book.

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  7. Joylene, thanks so much for the info and for hosting Phyllis. Phyllis, thanks for the advice. Good covers make such a difference.

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  8. The IWSG guide sounds great, Joylene. And I look forward one day to working with a professional to create a great cover for my book. Thanks, Phyllis

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    1. Best to you, Ken. Let me know when that happens so I can help spread the word.

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  9. Thanks so much for the info on the book covers. It is so very important and I'm happy to say that I think mine is safe! I made it the same size (to look at) as the covers one sees on amazon and everything is still clear to read on the front. Not the back, but that isn't seen on an ebook anyway... Thanks for the head's up. And, I've got my submission in for the guide! Yea!

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    1. That's great news, Lisa. It's going to be a great little asset. Cheers.

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  10. Great post. A tiny thumbnail of a cover has to be clear, with a decent amount of white space, doesn't it? Thank you Phyllis and Joylene.

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  11. Those tiny cover pictures can make or break. We have all been drawn to, or put off, a book by its cover. Thanks for sharing the useful advice, the anthology is going to be a fantastic and interesting resource.

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  12. If I'm not looking for a specific author, there are two things that draw me in...the title and the cover. Great advice!

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  13. I've seen so many great posts for in the book. I know book covers attract me to read the blurb on a book. And covers have turned me away too.

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    1. I feel the same way. IWSG is a great group of writers.

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  14. I've been attracted by many intriguing book covers. They really do stand out on crowded shelves.

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    1. A must these days, Kim, with so many books to share space with.

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  15. A book cover is what catches my eye and makes me look, the title next and then the blurb. With so many good books out there I think the cover is extremely important in catching the eyes of a potential reader. Great post.
    Juneta at Writer's Gambit

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    1. I've been paying more attention to covers the last few years. But when I was young, it was the title because the books were stacked on shelves at the library where the cover was seldom visible.

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  16. Happy anniversary to IWSG site!
    PZM - Thanks! Your book cover topic comes coincidentally when I've been told to change my cover to one that is B&W and has unreadable lettering and picture in thumbnail size. I refused, and I'm happy to see I'm right.

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  17. An agent once told me that "titles sell." I think you can say the same thing about book covers.

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    1. Titles have always intrigued me, but covers draw me in first. Thanks, Jeff.

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  18. Excellent advice. Before internet buying, I think covers were easier to design. Now there is a whole new set of challenges.

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    1. And not being a designer makes it harder for most of us. TG for great artists! Thanks, Robin.

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  19. Thanks for re-posting the information about book covers. That is the first think most people look at when shopping for books.

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  20. Funny you should post about this! I'm offering free cover feedback on my blog tomorrow. :)

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    1. I'm late, Carrie. But I'm heading over now.

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  21. With thousands of e-books to choose from, what's the first thing that a prospective buyer looks at? A cover image/title.
    I'm a sucker when it comes to striking book covers, and have purchased books based on the cover image.
    Thanks for this info.

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  22. I know covers draw me to a book. I know there's tons of psychology behind why color and design attract or repel, but I'm still not sure why I like some covers more than others. There must be studies.

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    1. Probably. And then there are those who just seem to know. Thanks, Cheryl.

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  23. Thanks for sharing this informative post.

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