I love pretties! Doesn’t everyone? What pretties am I rambling about this week? Why those pretty pictures (or should be) on the covers. Yes, cover art! The ultimate pretty right?
You’ve spent months on your manuscript, polishing it up before submitting it then going through umpteen rounds of content, copy, line, proof edits. The characters have lived and breathed in your mind FOREVER! Now it’s time to fill out the cover art form. You know exactly how your characters look; you know what they wear/eat/drink/do. So being the good author that you are (and you are), you list EVERYTHING!
Main character #1 has blue eyes, but not too blue, more aqua, well maybe they’re more teal-ish but not too green either. And his hair is brown with a little bit of red and blond and black running through it with hints of silver (because he’s not a spring chicken but he’s not old either). Loves to wear flannel shirts because he works outdoors and has a slight tan… wait, his flannel isn’t red plaid, it’s more of a maroon with brown, not black. He has a bit of a beard but not like stubble and laugh lines near his eyes.
Main character #2 has really long hair but it’s not too…and…and…no not like that it’s more…
Are you getting my point? Being detailed is good BUT there is a limit. Ask any graphic artist worth their salt and they’ll tell you that you can’t have every single thing you want perfectly on your cover. A cover should give hints of: the genre – paranormal, historical, sci-fi; something identifying for the main character – cop, doctor, soldier, baker, etc.; the combination of the main characters – male/male, male/female, male/male/male, male/female/male, etc.; or a trend these days is something that is more graphically interpretive of the story.
A few things you should take into consideration when filling out your cover art form: 1) simple is better; 2) the cover will 99% of the time be only viewed in a thumbnail on a site;3) if you are self-pubbing and decide to do your own cover (which I recommend against because just because you have photopaint/photoshop on your computer doesn’t mean you know how to use it), remember to PAY for your images or make sure that they are not copyrighted images; 4) LISTEN to your cover artist – they have done hundreds of covers and while they want to please the author, ultimately they want the product to look good and not look like it’s been thrown together by a two year old with attention deficit.
A pretty cover can draw in new readers just as a not so pretty cover (no I’m not giving you any examples) can deter readers from picking up your book.