What makes a good book cover?

Could you imagine walking into a book shop and every book being plain white with the book’s title being printed on the front in black Arial font? Hell, no! How uninspiring would that be?! No thank you, Equilibrium (great film).

We have all heard the idiom, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, it is a metaphor that is used time and time again, and I for one wholeheartedly believe in it! A good example is Susan Boyle, not much was expected of her simply because of the way she presented, when she sang though, it was a different story altogether. Also, think of any superhero who ‘disguises’ themselves during the day, there’s more going on underneath.

The message here is a good one but it did get me to thinking; what does actually make a good book cover? I imagine this is very subjective because what I think makes a great book cover may not be the same as another person’s. So, with this in mind, I decided to delve a little deeper and have a look through book covers on the internet; in Google, Goodreads and Amazon.

I haven’t (yet) written a book and can’t even imagine how difficult it must be to choose something that grabs the eyes of any and every potential reader.

At this moment in time there are literally thousands upon thousands of romance novels, they dominate most generic book search sites. There are covers depicting men who are muscle-bound and oiled up and clearly aimed at a certain demographic; people who like oily, muscle(y) men. Similarly, in the world of young adult (YA) fiction, a girl wearing a dress in various poses will just about do it (see creativindiecovers). There are formulas that work base don the targeted audience.

Colours are what grab the eye; the red used in Adrian Selby’s ‘Snakewood’ is a great example of a fantastically designed book cover, it hints at very little and creates an air of mystery whilst also utilising the sheer…redness! Another one I always think back to is ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’, this is such an iconic book cover and to see the bottom half of the face with no flesh just makes you take a second glance and, more importantly, pick up the book.

It is all marketing techniques and yada yada yada but it is still very important to make people look twice.

1 thought on “What makes a good book cover?

  1. Agree with you about Adrian Selby’s Snakewood cover, compared to many covers out there the red stands out so much and just screams ‘look at me’.

    Liked by 1 person

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