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Simple or graphic cover?



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Simple or graphic cover?

I know some of you here have books or e-books being published or have been published already. We know that writing books, short novels, e-books and other similar writing stories, require you have a good and catchy cover.

It will somehow depend on what the content is all about. If it's about graphics or designs, you are expected to of course have a very graphic cover that is relevant to the content. And if it's a story book, sometimes it's better to have a least-graphic cover.

I know I've already said their differences, but what do you prefer though? Or what do most clients/buyers prefer?
And also, do you make them (covers) yourself or you are hiring someone to do it?

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JoeMilford

Actually, I think this is a very good question, and it is a dilemma I face when putting together books. A lot of the time, regardless of the content of the book, if the cover does not catch the eye, then no one will even crack it open. I think this decision also depends on somewhat knowing your audience as well. In any case, when I put together books of poetry, I tend to go for a more minimalist approach; the audience approaching this genre is more concerned about the images that the words make in their minds, I think, than the cover images providing some sort of context to the content. However, in my science fiction work, I tend to go for more elaborate covers which represent the content; the audience for this genre wants to see some action and fantastic imagery, I think, which represents the futuristic or alternate world which they are about to embark upon entering.




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wiseagent

Unfortunately, people still judge (a lot!) a book by the cover. This mistake can be a big failure to a reader because the person may be missing the opportunity to read an incredible story just because they didn't like the cover of the book.

I think this is, in a way, very sad (especially if you are the writer / author of the book, haha).




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edencaga

I agree with you. People tend to choose those good covers without even knowing the whole thing inside the book. They should also read the reviews about the book because cover is not really doesn't matter as long as the story is something that you can really learn and enjoy to.




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allyn2017

I agree with you, and I am a bit guilty with that. Because sometimes I do judge a book by its cover.




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galegatling

True. It's like the common people, who prefer to look at the covers first, will then judge the book by it. I mean, probably because on book stores, the books aren't allowed to be opened unless you will buy it. Which I think makes sense. But when I buy a book, I would first have to know what the book is all about, probably from recommendations instead of buying on the spot just because the cover has an awesome graphic.




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Adesuwa08

Hello gale, this is a very good topc to start with, I wanted commenting but it seems your comments limits have already been reached. I am of the school of thoughts that writers shouldn't complain when readers judge their books by its cover, a graphic cover is very essential when you are about to be published or published already, it is the cover of your book that opens way for people to want to view your works.

Left for me I like keeping it simple, but the society we live in now judges everything we do by how colourful and artistic it is in terms of writing, keeping this in mind a writer should always know that graphic cover gets more readers than simple covers. I learnt this the hard way when I first went publishing at the local level, it didn't go well with the sale because the cover page was too simple, even if there was nothing wrong with it readers will definitely complain and won't give your book a second thought. It is not as if you should care about what they think and blah blah blah, you are just being reader friendly and every writer should put that in mind even before they get published, know how to relate with your readers through the cover page of your book.




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vinaya

When you are designing a book cover you need to remember couple of things.
1. the cover concept must match with the content of the book. If your book is a horror story, dark theme will do justice. If your book is in romance genre, you should use bright color.
2. The theme color should do justice to the content of the book.
3. The book title and author name should be readable even when the book is viewed on thumbnail.
4. you should avoid using fancy designs, because simple is better.




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allyn2017

I agree with you, I have read a few books that will make you question the connection of it to its content.




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Kakashi2020

I do think that a graphic cover is much more interesting and appealing to readers. I like being visually wowed. In my opinion having a minimalistic or simple cover is not in anyway appealing.




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allyn2017

I agree with you, it is more attractive to the buyer.




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Kakashi2020

I do think that Graphic Covers in books looks really attractive. I mean if you have written a good book, why stop there, why not make a good attractive cover right? There's no sense of writing a good book and not having a cover which is visually attractive.




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allyn2017

True, and the fact that a lot of people judge book by its cover.




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wiseagent

I have wondered this several times, but I have come to the conclusion that the most appropriate choice will always depend on the project to which it will be associated. There is no point in thinking / working on it first without first knowing where it would be used. But for a person's choice, I prefer the graphic covers because I can always be more creative when I choose to work with them.




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JoeMilford

I have published two poetry collections, and luckily, the publishers had an art team, which came with my publication deal, to handle this type of thing, and they designed the covers based upon the book and its contents and then consulted with me. That was awesome; however, in the self-publishing I am doing, I am on my own, and that is a bit scarier considering the kind f rejection that can happen which you mention in one of your comments above!




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wiseagent

Decide to walk with your own legs is always a great challenge (especially when the path is new), but that is what part of life is made of... Challenges. I hope the work you are developing for yourself has a satisfactory result.




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JoeMilford

Thanks for saying this. I am very proud of the work I have done, so that has its own merit and sense of accomplishment. I have sent my work out to some colleagues I respect, and they are all favorable to it so far. Also, it was fun to write some of my new projects, and i am inspired to keep writing, whether I get paid for it or not. However, I figured that I could try to market myself, once I finish up a few more things and learn a bit more. I've got nothing to lose, right? No one is reading my work if it is just sitting on my laptop--I need to get it out there.




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wiseagent

You're welcome. Simple or graphic cover?

I think you are going the right way, but for everything to be complete you need to do with your work being read by the public because they are the ones who will be the most important judges of your work.

The result may not be what you expect (or it may be better than you expect), but leaving it hidden won't help at all.




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JoeMilford

Good point and a point well-taken. No piece of writing is necessarily perfect, I don't think. To not submit, post, publish, or share something because you are waiting for it to become perfect might mean that it never gets read or seen by anyone at all. I've got a shoebox full of rejection slips from journals and magazines that I keep to remind me the I need to keep submitting my work. I also have tons of publications, but I definitely have more rejections than publications. You just have to keep sending your stuff out and be prepared for how hard it is to get it published.




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wiseagent

I think everyone - regardless of what kind of job they have - if they are really committed to their work, they want to achieve the perfection.

The problem is: this seems to be a little tricky in the writers' world because it seems like the judges are in a much larger amount (which can sometimes be very discouraging)... But you have to keep doing your work in the best way you can.




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JoeMilford

Also, we have to stay true to our own voices as well, regardless of the critics. Taking the right kind of criticism is good, but we have to mature as creators and writers and realize what we will not change for the masses or the audience. This was a hard lesson for me to learn over the years, as a writer for almost 30 years, but sticking to your guns is also very important.




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wiseagent

Yes, I think keeping your own essence - without disregarding what others think or talking about your work - is essential because otherwise you become just another one in the crowd.

Like you said, you need to have your own voice. If it's necessary to change, change it... But never your own essence.




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JoeMilford

And really, what you are getting at here, not to beat the point to death, is the idea of artistic integrity, or integrity just in general. It's hard to stick to your guns after years of rejection and struggle. There is this poet, Norman Dubie; he wrote for 40 years before he got the recognition which he deserved. He never gave up, and then, the next thing you know, he was on the cover of Poets And Writers magazine, which is huge here in the states.




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wiseagent

This story you told is very interesting and certainly motivating.

Being persistent and always being active (doing your job) is an essential part of this game. if you give up right away at the first rejects you may already be considered a loser.




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JoeMilford

They way I look at it, and I hope I do not sound like a slob, is that true writers have no choice--they have to write. It's in their blood and a major part of who they are and how they express themselves. Finding a way to make a living as a writer and finding a dedicated audience is even tougher, but aren't gonna accomplish those things if you quit prematurely!




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wiseagent

Don't worry... You're not sounding lika a slob, haha!

Unfortunately, for many people the profession of writer is associated negatively because they find writing an easy task. In this way, it is as if writing doesn't require much work (and time) to be done.




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Martinsx1

The cover is always the first impression that readers get in contact with, and once it the work fails on the first impression, there would be a great jeopardy for the content because a good number of people would be influenced not to go for the work. If you aren't good with designing the cover of your book, it's best to outsource the job to another and have a perfect job done for you.




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treecko142

Yeah, by choice it really depends on a person's preference, but as you have said, you always have to consider the subject matter being discussed in the book because some work better with simple covers while others really require a lot more creativity for the cover.




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DarthHazard

It depends on the audience to be fair. If you are trying to aim for a sophisticated and professional look then you might prefer a simple cover with just a nice font and a simple cover. But, if you are creating a fictional book or some sort of fun ebook then it might be better to go for a graphic cover. I have never created an e-book but I would probably create my own cover.




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JoeMilford

I totally agree. I think I was articulating something a lot like what you are saying here above, but the cover of a book is really a conundrum. Also, it is such a permanent thing. Once it is out there, you better be sure about it, right? I agree with your opinions here. Once again, knowing one's audience is key in the success of this venture.




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wiseagent

Knowing the audience for which you are writing is essential (in fact, it's a must) and the art related to it is totally dependent. I mean, you must be able to view the end of the road so that you can properly illuminate it. When the creation process is done in reverse, I think the results are hardly good.




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JoeMilford

The question of audience is so interesting. We "imagine" our audience before we even have one! Right? We write towards a certain audience before it even shows up, and when it does show up, it might not always be exactly what we initially expected it to be! I think this is a very interesting thing to consider.




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wiseagent

Yes, haha! It's something really interesting to think about something that doesn't yet exist.

We imagine our audience according to our expectations and that's why a lot of people end up getting so frustrated when things don't turn out as they expect.




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vinaya

If you check the classic books on the bookstore, you will see the covers are simple, text-based. Some covers use images, but these images are also simple, there is no heavy editing. Simple is always better. However, for the special audience, children, for instance, you need a cover with an elaborate design.




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galegatling

Yeah that is true. It will depend on what the content is all about. It's just sad that common people who don't have an idea when it comes to how a cover work will then judge the book by, well it's cover. Like if they see a book with a dry and text based cover, then they wouldn't buy it because it's "boring" for their tastes etc. The downside of having physical books at bookstores is that sometimes there aren't any previous. But for us book lovers and writer enthusiasts, we know better.




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JoeMilford

I agree. It is all about being able to somehow catch the reader and persuade them into reading your work. Tastes do vary, of course, and to have a cover made for your book just to appeal to your audience and their tastes seems wrong to me, but I guess that it is just part of doing business. I am not quite sure what you meant when you said, "The downside of having physical books at bookstores is that sometimes there aren't any previous"--could you explain that to me?




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ballyhara

This is the best idea to go with. Besides the audience, a writer have to consider the content of it. A book based on a story, must show a glimpse of it on the cover, so that way you got the intrigue of what's coming by reading it. But, obviously if you are writing about an specific topic like, design, medicine, graphics, engineering, then you have to go with a professional and on point look, a minimalist modern cover would do great in those cases.




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Authord

Clients do prefer graphic cover. But in this case it depends on the writer and the audience. I do design book cover for people, and only a few, will not bother about graphic cover.
Attraction matters, 80% of the E-books have read, was due to the cover, so graphic cover matters, if you an upcoming writer, who needs to build an audience. Popular writers don't actually give a damn on how the cover looks like, because they have built and gained the trust of their fans , even if they have no cover, the book will still sell, due to the content.
But on a normal plane graphic covers are better than simple covers.




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galegatling

Yeah. I prefer text-based covers with little to no graphics. Borders are fine but not to the point that it will look like that of a MS Word document border type. Lol. Also, there are graphic covers of certain books that would rhyme the genre of the certain book. For instance, if it's a horror book, the cover will obviously be dark and will have some silhouette alongside or all over the cover itself.




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JoeMilford

Interesting statistic here. If 80% are chosen by the cover alone, then a good interesting cover is crucial, I would say. Once you reach the status that you cover does not even matter, then the worries that I have about writing and selling books will have all disappeared, lol. To have a popular writer's following would be amazing--my books would sell just on the merit of my name. Of course, I am a long way away from this, and the reality is that I may never achieve it.




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JoeMilford

I think it is really awesome that you do cover designs! I would think that would be a really fun line of work and such a creative outlet. Your 80% statistic about ebooks is also interesting to me because it got me to thinking about how many times in a book store I picked up a text just because of the design of the cover. Probably a lot, I would imagine.




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allyn2017

I agree with you, and it also depends on the content of the book, the topic and its genre.




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Baburra

I think both can work equally well as long as they are done right. If the book calls for a minimalist cover then it should be done that way, but also at the same time it has to be unique and memorable enough and also be representative of the story enough that the people purchasing the book will be able to recognize and relate to the cover when looking at it on store shelves or even while reading the book itself. There is evidence that both can work well in promoting the content of the book, so I think either can work, but it just needs to be used in the right situation, whichever the pick will be.




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galegatling

What can you say about those books sold at book stores wherein buyers are not allowed to open unless they are buying it? I see a lot of sealed books which is fine I guess if you already know what you are buying. But most people who go shopping would sometimes get the attention of the book depending on it's graphic cover.




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DarthHazard

Where did you see this? Unless it's a boxed set, I have never actually noticed this (over here in the United Kingdom anyway). Most book stores that I have been to let you read the inside of the book without any problems although I never bother to actually read the content. I just look at the cover and the blurb and that is enough for me to make a decision on whether or not I am buying the book or not.




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Baburra

Yeah those can be tricky. I buy from a store where there is always a preview copy where you can read the whole book in the store if you really wanted to. I think with this you really can only rely on the cover and even then you really don't know what you're getting since the connection between author and reader is very unique so you wouldn't know if you will get along with the writing or if you will find it interesting unless you read the first few sentences. I guess the most you could do in this case is to judge the cover and figure out if the author's choice makes sense to you.




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ballyhara

Seriously, that got me on my nerves. As a good reader, I do like to do some checking before buying a book, specially if it's new. I mean, it's completely understandable to have them sealed, but at least you can have an open copy, so that way customers can check on it before buying it. Usually I don't get a copy only by it's cover, so that can be very frustrating.




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Martinsx1

This is a very odd case to my hearing whereby a book is sealed in the book store and restrict a potential buyer from reading at least a page in the book unless the individual is buying the book. This is not a very good business plan because I'm sure there would be a serious decrease in the book sales rate in such book store.




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Painterly

I don't agree that covers are as important in a digital market as they are in a brick and mortar store. People who browse the aisles of a store are often in an indecisive, adventurous mood and thus may purchase almost any variety of book which appeals to them superficially. Online, people know what they want and zero in on it. Add to this the fact that almost all e-books give you access to a few chapters for free, which you can read at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home, and you have a scenario in which you're not going to have the same success with courting spontaneous impulse buys on that medium that you will in physical locations.

For that reason, I tailor covers very conservatively. I think a return to the more austere, dignified faces of books from the classical era works very well for many publications. I will only hire an artist to richly illustrate an e-book if the subject matter is flighty, like a fantasy narrative.




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galegatling

This is not the case to common people who will just stroll on book stores just to find any thing that they want. They merely look at the graphics, like most of them do. Moreover, if the book is sealed (which most cases they are), these common people will then judge it and will probably say that it's not worth it and so on.




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Tronia

I believe that the cover of any sort of book, let it be physical or e-book is extremely important because it's the very first thing that the reader/client will see. If they don't find it appealing then, believe me, they will not buy it. That is exactly why I think that the graphic cover is far better nowadays. In the past, the simple was the way to go but now it's the other way around. Just look at some of the newer e-books. They all have some sort of images, fancy fonts, some are extremely creative in the overall design. I know that I personally find the graphic covers nicer to look at.




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galegatling

I certainly agree with you. But have you also thought about books and e-books that doesn't really go well with fancy and very graphic cover? I mean, if the contents are very serious in theme, and somewhat telling a story about, let's say a murderer and with a lot of twists and turns, now that is an exciting one to read right? But genres like that do not necessarily require to have a very graphic cover. A greyish or dark background with simple plain texts usually does the job. But then again, people won't somehow get attracted to it by just the cover without even knowing the content. "Don't judge a book by it's cover." That doesn't apply to some people at all! But it sure does to me.




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treecko142

I think book covers work best when they use a professional font but with a good background which could either be images related to the subject of the book, in a beautiful layout or just a simple color scheme with minimal design.




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Martinsx1

This is exactly my point, books or ebooks covers are very important if not more important than the content because it's just about the first thing any reader gets in contact with before going through the book inner content. If the book cover gives a poor impression, it's definitely going to make people or readers not have interest in reading the book.




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DenisP

As you said, it is obviously going to depend on the circumstances so there definitely isn't a single solid answer. That being said, I personally have a preference for minimalistic design. I believe that a lot can be said in a few words, and I think the same goes for graphic images. You can send a distinct message while still using a limited amount of shapes and colors. But as we've covered already, the same thing isn't going to work for every scenario, so it is best to familiarize yourself with multiple styles and use them appropriately.




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Soulwatcher

I think a graphic cover is going to go a long way for any book. Because 9 times out of 10 whenever i pick up a book I look at the cover unless its from some author that I recognize. I have never 1 time in my life picked up a book with a simple cover.




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DenisP

As the saying goes, to each his own. I have no doubt that with a general demographic, graphic covers are most likely the most popular pick. I think generally people will be attracted to some skillful illustration or other type of graphic cover, and I can understand why. However, personally, in a sea of graphic covers what often catches my eye is simplicity. That is just the way my brain seems to work for whatever reason, which is why I prefer minimalistic design.




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Judas2018

The cover is what sells the book. It grabs someones attention whether they're walking through bookstore or scrolling through a list of available books online. So the cover doesn't have to be overdone? But it should be attractive and professional looking.




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DarthHazard

I agree but I think it depends on the target audience. I think if you are targetting a much more professional customer base then it is a good idea to go with something minimalistic. Sometimes the most simple designs are the best designs. But if you are creating a book that is targetting a younger audience then it may be a better to go with less simple design.




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Barida

I agree with you that most of the most simplistic designs are the best for I've seen some designs of popular books not having that heavy design which just made me believe that what you're saying is right as well.




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Martinsx1

You are very correct, one's target audience goes a huge way in determining the kind of design to be used in order to have a better effect. Mature audience don't need over creative design because I believe they work with time, keeping it simple would impress them more but the younger ones are a little more creative minded and would appreciate a sophisticated design better over a simple one.




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Kakashi2020

I always go for books with great cover designs. In my opinion books with bland if not simple cover designs are too boring and it won't offer me any excitement.




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