Author of OUTBACK LOVE a contemporary romance novel set in Australia, JETTING AWAY a short story prequel to OUTBACK LOVE, MOON OVER MADNESS a paranormal romantic comedy and BAYOU BLUES AND OTHER SORROWS a collection of short stories and poems about life and love. All are available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony, Diesel and Kobo. On Twitter @TeriHeyer

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Importance of a Great Book Cover

I realize now the importance of a great book cover. Until I started ePubbling my own books, I never thought all that much about covers. Sure, I was attracted to an eye-catching cover, which always made me look inside the book. Only I never thought about how that happened. I guess it was just an automatic reaction, which I never realized I was doing. Now I study covers voraciously, online and at the bookstores.

I've come to the following conclusions. I've always look at any book with a moon on the cover. Don't ask me why, I just do. I guess it's because I've been totally fascinated with the moon since I was a kid and my dad brought home a telescope. I was instantly hooked. Although, until recently, I didn't realize it made me pick up certain books. Having "moon" in the title is also enough to make me take a second glance at the book.

Well, I love horses, dogs, flowers, seashells, the beach and tranquil landscapes too. So I realized I tend to look at books that have one or more of those elements. It doesn't mean I buy every book, but it does ensure that I stop and look. I now realize that if your book cover doesn't catch the reader's eye, you probably won't sell many books unless you're a big name author. On the other hand, I've been known to buy a book, now and then, just because I fell in love with the cover.

I'm a history fanatic, so I tend to look at books with medieval covers, particularly with knights and/or castles.. I've had a lifetime fascination with the westward movement, maybe because some of my ancestors traveled the Oregon Trail. So I look at books with covered wagons or just about any image that depicts pioneers. Maybe that's why I first fell in love with Louis L'Amour's books? I own just about every one of his books and so far have read more than half of them.

As a kid, I made my mother buy me every one of Marguerite Henry's books because of the beautiful covers of Chincoteague Ponies. I had the whole Laura Ingalls Wilder "Little House Books," because of the pioneer covers. I first fell in love with "The Phantom Tollbooth," "A Wrinkle in Time," "Savage Sam," "The Enormous Egg" and "Island of the Blue Dolphins," because of the wonderful covers.  I still have my childhood copies of those books. Of course, it helped that the stories were incredible too.

My husband, Ben Heyer, is designing the covers for my ebooks. We're going through a trial and error period. I'm pretty picky about what I want on a cover and he's just downright stubborn. So, at this stage of the game, my covers are all a compromise. I'm getting better at conveying what I'd like to see on the cover and Ben is getting a bit more patient with all my changes. For now, it's still a learning process.

Ben is already designing covers for some of my upcoming books. I'm excited about what he's creating and anxious to get the books finished just so the cover can be attached to the book. Now isn't that a silly reason to hurry up and finish writing a book? However, it's also a good incentive to keep writing.

In the meantime, Ben just redesigned the covers for "Jetting Away" and "Moon Over Madness." I like these covers better than the original ones.  He just made a few changes here and there, which made all the difference.

So it comes down to this. I look at a book because of the cover. I may even buy it just for the cover. But finding a great story inside is what makes me keep the book and continue to rave about it for years and years.

My goal now is great stories with great covers. Gee, that's asking for a lot. Will I succeed? I certainly hope so. I have lots of stories to tell, so Ben will have lots of book covers to design.

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