Judging a Book by its Cover

There is a well-known saying, ‘never judge a book by its cover’. Sound advice but we all make snap decisions. How many times have you passed over a book because the cover was unappealing or the blurb on the back was boring? First impressions count and you need to grab a potential reader’s attention if you want your book to be successful.

If you are lucky enough to have a publishing contract, you will receive help with these important details, but for all those self-publishers, it is essential to make your book stand out from the rest. Unless you are an established writer with a string of best-sellers to your name, you have just a few short moments to capture your audience’s imagination, so make them count.

I have often repeated the fact that it is essential for self-published writers to have their manuscripts professionally edited and proofread. However, as well as ensuring that the content of your book is polished and error-free, it is essential to give some thought to the cover and blurb (the short summary on the back) to entice readers to buy.

Unless you are a designer, you will struggle to create a decent cover for your book and I would strongly recommend seeking the services of a professional. Research online or post your project on a freelance site such as Elance and choose a shortlist of around six potential designers. Then provide your favourites with more detail to find out what they can do for you. Choose the one that most closely matches your vision and budget and work with them to create the perfect cover for your book.

Furthermore, many people believe that writing a punchy blurb will be easy. They have written a book after all, so summarising the story in a few lines should be relatively simple but it’s not as straightforward as that. Capturing the essence of your book in a few lines takes careful crafting and knowing what words to use to attract the right audience requires skill. Draft your blurb until you have it exactly right and ask other people to read it and give you feedback. I would also consider employing the services of a specialised copy-writer or editor to help you make sure that your blurb makes the necessary impact.

Having invested a considerable amount of time into writing your book, it will be a wasted effort if no one ever gets to read it. Once your manuscript is as good as it can be, take time to ensure that you have an eye-catching cover and a gripping blurb. That way, your book will be the one that readers choose over the thousands of others on the market.






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  • About Kim

    Kim Kimber is an experienced writer, copy editor and proofreader who is passionate about the written word in all its forms and a stickler for getting it right. As the former editor of a parenting and lifestyle magazine, Kim knows what makes interesting copy and how to achieve it. Her features have been published in national and international publications on many subjects. Find out more
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