We’ve all heard of the cliché, Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover, haven’t we? But in fact, and not by choice, most readers do indeed get a bit judgey when it comes to first impressions of a book’s jacket cover. I know I do. And as a debut author who needs to strike enough attention amongst the hundreds of other books hitting the shelves or showing up as thumbnail images online this year, it has to be right.
From what I’ve learned along this five-year journey, besides discovering that writing a book is hard work, is that creating the cover to represent an entire story is even harder! There’s a lot that goes into it besides a title, plot summary and author name. Creating a mood and revealing the writing style so potential readers will want to crack open the book are important features too.
I must admit, when it came time for me to fill out the publisher’s book cover questionnaire (which was such a great start), I got a bit nervous. But after sending the artist sample book covers/images that I liked based on ‘look and feel’ (Mr. & Mrs. American Pie, Where’d You Go Bernadette, The Hating Game and just released, Jameela Green Ruins Everything) and where I thought the design direction should go, it was all beginning to feel a bit real.
Besides putting a short but bold and descriptive tagline on the front cover, I had an idea of what colors and font style I wanted. Because And Then There’s Margaret falls under the big umbrella of women’s fiction, the color choice needs to speak to the emotions of this target audience looking for a light-hearted read that addresses modern womanhood. Chick lit? Perhaps. But for older lovers of this genre who have flown the coop, they’re looking for something more mature. Smarter, but still fun. To indicate this particular genre, the color, in my mind, has to be punchier with some energetic attitude to engage potential readers on an emotional level.
For the font style, we chose something casual, yet fun and appealing to set the stage for what’s to come – a relatable and often hilarious ride as our heroine’s world turns upside down when her mother-in-law “temporarily” moves in.
To reel in readers that wouldn’t necessarily read this type of book, I knew the image on the front cover would need to act as the teaser. The slightly angled cartoon image with a cheeky comment next to it hopefully will give readers a sense of what the book is about and a glimpse into the main character’s world. The same image is also on the back cover which I think gives the book instant personality instead of just a cute decoration.
And Then There’s Margaret was starting to come alive. After getting some ‘family and friend’ input, the designer made it happen – along with fine tuning the details to make the best impression and hopefully to connect with the audience before they even read a single word in the book!
I can’t wait to share the final design with my readers, and to see them enjoying the physical book when it launches this July.
You can pre-order your copy here!