On Self-Publishing: Getting my Novel to the Masses, Part 5

The book cover!

The gateway for your reader. The reason they pick up the book. The reason they read the book. The book cover is an opportunity.

It’s a big reason that I will check a book out. A good cover evokes a mood, offers an idea of what it’s all about. It intriques, and should look damn good on a table. It should also make you look really cool when you sit in the corner of your favorite coffee shop reading it.

Book covers change with the times, some of my favorite old Sci-fi novels have covers that are completely unrelated to the story. It’s just a celebration of the genre. Today’s book covers…many don’t appeal to me. Most seem very minimal, almost shy.

A big reason for this is, once again, the Internet. As most buy books online, a book cover must look good and be identifiable as a thumbnail image — tiny. It still has to catch the eye, but it needs to be able to work in a small space.

Ok, before I move on I have to share a quick story with you. I went to a self-publishing group meeting several years ago. The guy running it had success publishing books on Internet law. All of them had pictures of dogs sitting at computers for the cover art. He proudly explained that his research had determined that books with dogs on their covers sold better. I almost choked on my coffee. Do what you will with that ridiculous tidbit.

For those of you that are planning on publishing a book, don’t cut corners on the cover. It’s critical. Look at books in your genre, then do something appropriate but different to stand out. Use a picture of a dog.

Purchase high quality stock photography from a site like www.fotolia.com or www.shutterstock.com. There’s even more sites like these, so don’t take this as an advertisement. Use Photoshop, or find someone that can use it. Take your time. Do it right.

Or you can be like me. I hired an illustrator. Lucky for me, I know one of the best. My old friend Sean Bieri is incredibly talented (take a moment and visit his blog, The Man Who Japed), and he is currently putting the final touches on this insane cover…and don’t worry, I’m gonna have T-shirts and mugs for ya too — it’s too good not to.

Enjoy this preview…


bullish ing


22 thoughts on “On Self-Publishing: Getting my Novel to the Masses, Part 5”

  1. I am currently writing a book while in class, and I definitely plan on self-publishing. I can’t believe I missed out on the other blog posts in this series, so I’ll definitely be checking those out too! Thanks for the advice!

    Though, no, I don’t think that I’ll be using a dog on my cover.

  2. Hmmm. The image makes me curious. I guess thats what a good cover does…gives some hints to the book but doesnt tell you the whole story in one glance like a typical romance dime store novel cover would do.

    1. I think it will for you in time as more people discover you. Your blog has nearly 100k hits, so you are doing something right. Glad to have connected with you today.

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