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Your Book Cover: What Kind of a "First Impression" Does it Make?
My debut novel, The Ezekiel Code

I was just reading a blog where a lady said she was ashamed to admit she tends to ignore books with amateurish covers even though she suspects some of the stories inside those covers might be pretty good.

As a book cover designer (www.bookcoversandvideos.webs.com) I can tell you no one should feel guilty about judging a book by its cover.


Because humans are, by nature, extremely sensitive to first impressions. The
corporate world has known this for a long time. That's why they spend
tens of millions of dollars every year on market surveys and research to determine
the effectiveness of their product packaging.

Two important things for authors to remember:

1. A potential reader's first impression of your book is the cover. There is an entire psychology built around the concept of "first impressions"
that should be understood by anyone whose product (books, in this case)
is just one among many in competition for the public's attention.

2. Think of the cover of your book in terms of "product packaging" in the
same way that manufacturers regard the packaging of their products. The
cover of your book is the "packaging", the "box" (metaphorically
speaking) that contains the "product". The product is the story inside
the "box". More often than not, a potential buyer's assumption about the quality of the product is determined by their perception of the quality of the packaging.

Research has shown that people tend to make purchasing decisions within a matter of just a few seconds based on their perception of the product (that "first impression") which is
influenced by the packaging.

It's pretty simple really. You're at the store. You see two products from two different manufacturers,
side by side, and both products are exactly the same and so are the
prices. But one is packaged very attractively with a polished, professional look and the other packaging is rather
generic and boring. Which one are you likely to purchase?

Gary Val Tenuta
Author and Designer of Low-Cost, High-Quality Book Covers

Below are some of my latest "product packages".



3 Comment count
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Too Much

I feel you have provided overkill with your examples. More discussion of those qualities that constitute a good designed book cover would have been helpful. As it is, it seems like a personal ad and,therefore lacks the substance you could have provided . With your background and experience, I am sure you could really provide some outstanding advice and suggestions. Drop all the covers expect for the first two you used as examples. Give us some depth.

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The Difference

The difference in the two books side by side at the beginning of your article is very persuasive. I would definitely pick up the one with easy-to-read title and author. All your examples are large enough type and clear enough to make me interested--altho I would be unlikely to buy a book that was not in a genre I like--or that I had not heard something about from someone. Nevertheless, a good cover and good spine seem like common sense.

Because I am almost computer illerate, don't have money to spare, and was in a hurry just to get my old newspaper columns into book form for my children and grandchildren, I just let PublishAmerica design my cover Down on the Farm: One American Family's Dream, which they did for free. I had an idea I wanted to use, but did not know how to design it, and I was in a hurry because I do not have much time for writing. When the finished book arrived, I hated the cover the minute I saw it altho I liked the colors very much--mostly green which seemed appropriate for a book about rural life. I played that color up on display tables when I was doing book signings--using a green cloth and a little green toy tractor to draw attention to the table. So many people picked up the book and said that they liked the cover that I decided maybe my taste was wrong. (But I still hate the image on the front--just sort of a shed shack in my opinion.) But maybe it is a common image that other rural folk identify with. Or maybe people are just embarrassed when they pick up the book and don't want to buy it and so they say the first friendly thing that pops into their mouths and they say they like the cover. Who knows? If I ever put together another book from blogs, maybe I will try to do it right and get some proper help. (Or maybe I will get in a hurry again knowing if I don't hurry that I will never get it done.)

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Thank You Sue

Hi Sue,
Thanks for the new information. I now understand. What a nice thing to do to get your newspaper columns into a collection for your children and grandchildren. I wish more would do that kind of thing. So much is lost. Good luck.