“We do judge a book by the cover. We judge books by the looks and feel, the title and sub-title, and what we think it’s going to be about. We do it all the time!”
If you’ve been following along with my articles in this “Book Authoring” series, you should have your book written and edited by this point.
So, what’s left to do? What’s the next step?
The next step is the one that everyone lies about. I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, “you can’t judge a book by its cover”. That’s BS. You CAN judge a book by the cover. If you’re in a bookstore looking for a book and you see one with a crappy cover, you’re going to pass it by.
I know why they people say it and their intentions; the point they are trying to make is good…but, the actual phrase, taken literally, is incorrect. We do judge a book by the cover. We judge books by the looks and feel, the title and sub-title, and what we think it’s going to be about. We do it all the time!
The cover makes a difference when we view the book in Amazon and when we physically see it in a bookstore, but in a book-store the cover takes on a different respect.
If you log into the Marketing University Member’s area and go to session three under the, “Best Selling Author” training, you’ll be able to watch as I scroll through non-fiction books in Amazon and critique the covers of books.
As I scroll through the books, I look for commonalities be-tween the book covers. One of the commonalities I found was that a lot of the same colors were used. The use of “red” was prevalent. As we look through book covers, we see books that some still use “old school” design and colors. Sure, I understand that red should make it stand out…
BUT…when everyone uses red it no longer stands out!
As we look through books, we see different patterns arise. That’s one thing I love about Amazon—you can view books in bulk. It makes it easy to see the commonalities.
Here’s a trick when viewing books in bulk in Amazon, arrange the books horizontally instead of listing them vertically. When you see them laid out horizontally, you can view a lot more books on the page at the same time.
We also find very close similarities. When looking at this way, you can see where authors pretty much stole the design of an-other book with the only change being the title. That is not good. You want to be aware of commonalities which attract people but you want your book to stand out from the crowd and not blend in too much.
One thing I noticed as I was scrolling through on the training is the overuse of the word “code”…don’t use it…it’s being used way too much. If you or any author has a series of books, it’s okay that they look similar if the look of it is part of the brand. But when people start using the same coloring, font etc., it causes the book to be lost in the crowd.
Here’s something we need to address—there’s a difference be-tween standing out and being desirable. When you look at a group of books, you will see that a few stand out and catch your eye, but one or two not only stand out but are aesthetically pleasing. I’ll bet money that the one that both “stands out” and is “aesthetically pleasing” will get people to stop and look closer at it. People will be more likely to purchase that one—and that IS judging a book by the cover.
As you watch me go through these books in the actual training in the Marketing University membership area, I’ll show you examples of what I call the “clean” uncluttered look and the use of white to achieve this look actually make these books aesthetically pleasing and makes them stand out among all the books who are over using reds, oranges and yellows.
Here’s a question that always comes up, “Should I put my pic-ture on the cover?” If you’re trying to build yourself as a brand, then put your picture on the cover. Why? Because you want people to know and recognize you, after all you are the brand.
For example, two friends of mine from the UK, John Lee and Vincent Wong have two books out where they did not put their picture on the cover. I think this is a mistake because they are in the process of building a brand around themselves.
Tony Robbins, Unshakable has a really great cover. He seems to have gotten everything right. Let’s look closer at it…
• “#1 New York Times Bestseller” and his name are featured at the top.
• It proclaims Step by Step Instructions—“Step by Step Guide To Money Mastery”.
• A great testimonial by someone of prominence—John C Bogle, Founder of Vanguard
• Great title/sub-title—UNSHAKABLE Your Financial Freedom Playbook
• The tagline, “Creating Peace of Mind in a World of Volatility” (Okay, I may have used a different word than volatility).
• A great picture of himself.
And all this without appearing cluttered. Oh…and no reds, oranges or yellows.
Elon Musk’s, Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future is very similar and just as good. My guess would be that both covers were designed by the same person.
Musk’s cover makes great use of the color red. Musk did not write this book it was written about him.
Now, if you are not trying to brand yourself, maybe your branding a concept or something, then don’t put your picture on the cover. In this case you have to brand the words. Here are two examples, one good, one bad where the words are what is promoting the brand.
The good example is John C. Maxwell’s Laws Of Leadership. He used the bold red and black colors, but it looks high class. I like it.
On the other hand, Tim Ferris’s Tribe Of Mentors, in my opinion, looks horrible.
It stands out from the crowd, but looks terrible. It’s just ugly. I have no idea who advised him on it. And it’s not just ugly, the text needs work too.
You can hardly read the text where it says New York Times Best-seller! If you have a New York Times bestseller, proclaim it loudly; be proud of it; don’t hide it.
suggest you go through Amazon yourself and look through books in your category. Also log into the Marketing University Member’s Area, pull up this training and watch as I critique book covers.
You want to not only look at what they say on the cover but look at what they don’t say. What they don’t say can make a difference whether a book is successful or not. If you’re copying from another book, you are saying nothing. It’s not going to work for you. For example, a person I know has a book, High Performance Habits but the cover is very underwhelming.
It begs the question, why didn’t you hire a high-performance graphic artist? When you write a book, it’s not just writing a book and putting a cover on it to have something pretty sitting on the shelf. And, as you’ve seen, very few are pretty or even have an attractive design element to them.
A lot of people are not sure how to do covers so they want to start off with a template. There are a lot of different templates out there. Here’s a website that has book cover templates, GoOnWrite.com (Go On Write not “goonwrite”). You’ll see some similarities between covers, and you’ll see some extremely unique ones.
The idea is to scroll through them and find some that you are attracted to.
Check for templates not only in the category but go to other categories and see what’s available. You should find some fairly decent ones.
Let’s say you found a cover you like. What do you do? You click on the cover and buy it. You then send them all the info you want on the cover—author’s name, title, tag lines, picture etc. They will send you the cover with your information now on it. So, for $40 or so, you have a custom cover.
Another way to do would be to go to Fiverr.com and find some-one to make you a book cover. Once you’re at Fiverr, just type in “book cover,” and you’ll find a bunch of people that design book covers.
Here’s one thing to keep in mind. We may just want a digital cover. If we’re doing a physical book, and I recommend you do a physical version, we need a physical book cover designed. Just like at, GoOnWrite.com, look through their samples until you find a designer who’s work satisfies you.
As we look at covers and cover templates for our book, we need to blend what’s popular but still unique. So, what we do is we find and look at the top covers and decide what we like about them and find out what we don’t like about them.
You can also try Google. Do a search on “book cover design.” You’ll find a number of places that will design a book cover for you. You’ll find companies that sell templates, like those I al-ready talked about, and you may find some that design unique covers from scratch for you. Pull up a few of the listed companies and see what they’ve done.
Are these covers and templates good? I’d say you should find a bunch of good ones. Notice I said “good”, I didn’t say “great”. But, I think you’ll find acceptable ones. Of course, if you really do your research, you may find a designer on Fiverr who will customize a great one for less money.
You will have to spend some time researching these options to come up with a good cover. After all, it’s your book selling your message. Your book cover does your selling. You need a cover that sells your message at a glance. The key phrase here is, “at a glance.”
As you may know, I do a lot of my own designing. Here’s an example of a cover that I am in the process of designing for my Marketing Formula book.
As you can see, it’s a really basic, simple design. I have the title, Marketing Formula. I spread out the words Marketing and Formula. I also have a tagline, “The Secrets to Creating Million Dollar Businesses” and my name at the very bottom.
It’s very clean. I’m going for the minimalistic look. Is it finished? No, I think we can add more to it. I think it needs a more of something up at the top of it. But this is the initial design.
On the 2nd of June, my Success Leaves Traces book was officially released. Once again, notice the simplistic, attractive design that sets it apart from other books.
Go to SuccessLeavesTraces.com to see how I’m marketing this new release of Success Leaves Traces.
A while back, I released a success series of short, easy-to-read Kindle books. These are just digital, kindle covers. Take a look and see what I did. You can go to Amazon and type in “Armand Morin Success Series”. One it titled Accepting Success. The cover has a picture with the sky blended in. The next one, Opportunity Matrix has a very similar design. I kept the same feeling to the series. Others in the series are, How to Make Choice Decisions, Journey Of a Lifetime to name a few.
With Kindle book covers, there’s less involved than with phys-ical book covers. I just put these covers on reports that I had laying around.
After reading this article, I’m sure you’ll agree the cover of a book has to look good. It is important. If it doesn’t look good, people won’t buy your book. That’s the bottom line.
You see, the beautiful part about books is the only thing they’re judging it by is what it looks like. You can look just as good as a New York Times bestselling author, and you can do it in minutes if you have the right look and feel and the right design.
Success in this business relies on research. It’s all about making sure that you have the right research in place and that you’ve done the research to prove your point. If I questioned you on why your book looks the way it is, you should be able to have a comeback for me telling me exactly why you chose that design. If you can’t, then it’s all happenstance and you don’t know what you’re doing. You see what I mean? You actually have to care about the process if you want to get out of it what you put into it or get out of it much more than what you put into it.
The complete training video is in the Marketing University Member’s area. It’s session three of “Best Selling Author” training.