Writing guru Nathan Bransford just posted about how there's a movement to allow authors to have more control over their book covers.
Should authors have more control over their covers? - Nathan Bransford | Writing, Book Editing, Publishing
Like Bransford, I can't decide if this is a good thing or not. I agree that a commercial artist should know what designs and colours and typography work best in different markets, but I've seen some book covers that barely represented what happens in the story. On one, the protagonist looked nothing like he was described, the vehicles shown were wrong, as was the terrain. Then again, I've seen covers that were accurate and beautiful to look at—this happens in the Fantasy Genre a lot—but, the cover was superior to the story, almost a case of false advertising. Like every ready meal!
Nevertheless, a book cover represents the culmination of thousands of hours of hard work by the writer. It's the first thing that readers look at in a book shop, library or online. So, an author should at the very least, be content with the design. Or designs, for there will be many different covers for foreign markets.
I'm artistic by nature and training and grew up manipulating photographic images, as my father was a professional photographer. Going the self-publishing route and being poor, unable to hire artists, I've designed all my book covers. There are all sorts of tips, tricks and conventions to use. I previously commented on Pink & Glittery Covers
for Chick-Lit, but did you know that different writing genres favour particular colours? See this article for a beginner's guide:
Best Colors for Book Covers - COVER DESIGN STUDIO
I'm currently reading a crime novel and a guide to forensics which both have black covers, and a self-help book which is white.
If designing a cover for an eBook, it's wise to consider how small it will be on an Amazon listing viewed on a smartphone. Easily recognisable images and large plain lettering make a book stand out, as here:
What looks attractive and sophisticated on a hardback held in your hand, with a subtly painted design overlaid with a cursive font for the title and author, might look like a squashed fly viewed in tile size!
I'm making a return to self-publishing for my Cornish Detective
series, so have got jiggy with my IrfanView skills. As part of creating an author platform, I've taken into account what my brand looks like, which means I use the same two fonts on my covers, saying which number this investigation is in the series and finding an image that hints at what's in the story.
Just tracking down appropriate copyright-free images takes hours sometimes, and using them has all sorts of legal ramifications, which I'll tackle in an upcoming thread.
I mentioned colophons
in an old thread, and I've used them in my crime novels to delineate section breaks. I use one of these symbols from a copyright-free Celtic knot font, which looks better than typing * * * for each section break:
Trying to add to the Cornish flavour of the novels, I designed banners to go across the top of significant pages on the website and on my Facebook business page:
One of the advantages of eBooks is that it's easy to change details, including cover designs, so I'll experiment to see what difference a new cover makes. Here's the latest, which is for a story that begins with the body of an elderly woman found drowned in a quarry on the moor, wearing a blue 1950s ball gown and long leather gloves, which once belonged to her mother, a society belle who gave it all up to become a farmer's wife.
I may change the spacing and colours of the fonts, but for the moment it looks like this (without the black border):