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Judging a Book by Its Cover

Let’s face it: despite the old saying, people judge books by their covers every day. Just as a billboard along the highway has to grab the attention of someone cruising by at 60 mph, your book’s cover has to be just as noticeable to a reader that might see it for a fraction of a second as they browse a bookstore (online or brick-and-mortar).

With this reality in mind, Trafford would like to present eight tips for book covers, whether you’re designing your own or having it designed by someone else. Don’t let your masterpiece be ignored because of a lackluster cover!

Today, we offer five travel writing tips from those who have “walked the road” already, and are willing to share their advice with aspiring writers like yourself.

Look at other covers, especially ones in your genre. You should write about travel, first and foremost, because you enjoy it. Travel writing is, unfortunately, one of the lowest paying writing genres, despite being one of the most competitive. Only a small percentage of writers are able to make a living at it.

Check the spine (the book’s, not yours!) If you intend to sell your book in a bookstore, it’s unlikely that it will be displayed with the cover out. Are your title and name legible, even standing a few feet away? If a customer can’t even read the title, it’s unlikely that they’ll investigate further.

Speaking of the title, is yours big enough? Easy to read? Also, certain fonts tend to make your book look amateurish (Comic Sans, for example.) Avoid these at all costs, unless you’re certain that they contribute to the impression you’re trying to make.

How does your cover look as a thumbnail image? If your book is available online, many potential readers will only see a mini-image of your cover—not much bigger than a postage stamp. Even at that size, is it still effective and readable? Does it identify your book’s genre?

Is your cover simple, with a focus? Avoid incorporating too many story elements into your cover. Generally, one or two are enough.

Does the cover convey your book’s mood and genre? A reader should be able to tell what genre you’ve written in simply by looking at your cover.

If possible, get feedback from readers (preferably readers of your genre). What do they think about your cover? While you don’t have to incorporate every suggestion, if you hear the same criticism again and again, it’s probably worth listening to!

And last but not least, strongly consider hiring a cover designer (unless you’re an experienced professional). The money you spend on a good cover could be the best financial investment you make in your book.

We hope you’ve found this useful! Remember, readers are going to judge your book by its cover—make sure they judge yours positively!




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Call a publishing consultant today at 1.888.232.4444 or e-mail sales@trafford.com. Your publishing consultant will assist you along the publishing process, make sure you read the terms and conditions, and take your payment. (We accept credit card, check, or money order). After the submission of your materials, you’ll be on your way to having your book published. Are you looking to sign up for additional marketing services? Call your Marketing Consultant today at 1.888.232.4444 to get a free consultation on the services that would work best for your marketing campaign. You may also send an e-mail to sales@trafford.com.