Tin Whiskers Publisher

Imagining the Webs of History...

Publisher of Historical Fiction

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Cover Elements

Most of the time, authors are not involved in the process of choosing a cover design or even asked for input on the design. Tin Whiskers Publisher consults our authors for ideas during the initial stages of the design process. From there, our designers develop concepts and our experts choose a final cover (or covers) based on salability and market appeal.

So, what makes a great cover? There are really only two functions of a cover design. The most important thing a cover does is make a potential reader pick up the book. Today, this may be the literal picking up of a physical book in a bookstore or clicking the thumbnail in an online bookstore.

The second thing a cover should do is communicate, in a general sense, the story. A general sense, not a literal sense. The cover should hint at what lies inside, but leave room for the reader to start asking questions and wanting answers to those questions. The cover is all about getting the reader to buy the book. When the reader asks the question, “I wonder what happens?”, a purchase is more likely.

Many genres have a certain look when it comes to covers. Think of romance novels. Just as there are stringent rules to follow when writing a romance novel, the covers in this genre all have a similar appearance. Readers who purchase genre fiction generally expect books within the genre to have the same look. The trick is to stand out in the crowd while still wearing similar clothes. This is not an easy task, but one way to do this is by evoking the emotions of the story with the cover. The typography should be consistent with the setting, the color palette should match the mood of the story, and the style of the imagery should transport the reader into the story.

A cover should not be too complex. While many readers purchase books in traditional brick-and-mortar stores, many buy from online stores. The cover thumbnail displayed in a list of search results for an online bookstore may be the size of a postage stamp. If the cover is too complex, it may look like a blob of color, not a book cover. When a reader may spend as few as three or four seconds browsing the list of search results, cover thumbnails that do not at least somewhat standout are likely to be discounted without any consideration.

While there are design rules and guidelines to be followed, all of the imagery, typography, and color use is for naught if nobody picks up the book. When everything is said and done, the cover design has one job: to get the potential reader to pick up the book and start reading it. If a cover design can do that, it’s a great cover.

Tin Whiskers Publisher