Is there a magic formula to creating a book cover—one that readers will pull off the shelf?
The text is important; a title to grab their attention and a synopsis to pull them in. But text alone won’t do it—how many times have you reached for a plain book with no pictures and only text on the cover?
WOW! discussed the text side of book covers in a previous post. Today we’ll take a look at cover images with Steena Holmes. You might know Steena as a bestselling author, but did you know she is also a cover artist? Let’s pose a few questions to her!
WOW: Hi Steena, we’re interested in learning the magic of cover art—what makes a reader pull a book off the shelf.
When we talk about the images chosen for a book cover, what are we looking for? Is it to portray the story or summon an emotional response?
Steena: For me it would be an emotional response.
WOW: Are there guidelines for what images work best? What are people drawn to—images of other people, scenic shots…?
Steena: I think this might depend on the skill of the designer and what they prefer, as well as what you want on the cover. Often you’ll see a scenic shot behind a person, etc.
WOW: So, basically we are looking for a mood.
If an author has an image, a family picture for a memoir or perhaps the author’s own illustration, can a cover artist work with that?
Steena: Absolutely ;)
WOW: I remember hearing an advertising rule about including a bit of red to draw attention. Are there any similar rules or statistics for the color templates on book covers?
Steena: That would be the same rule where if you look at design magazines--for kitchens, you used to always see red apples in a bowl somewhere in the shot. Now you see pomegranates. Or bold yellow lemons, bright green apples...I love having red in a cover--I have red balloons on my cover for Finding Emma...but I think bottom line is as long as there is a bold image, something that really pops out to a reader, that is what matters.