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Cover Yourself
by: Penny C. Sansevieri
One of your biggest sales tools is your books cover. Did you know that if someone sees your book on the shelf, you have less than thirty seconds to sell it? Remember too that your book cover will not only be on your book, but it will more than likely grace most or all of your marketing materials as well and a heavily funded PR campaign can not make up for a poorly designed book cover.

If you’re stumped for cover ideas, try spending an afternoon perusing your genre of books in a bookstore and decide what works and what does not. Then have a cover designed that fits your audience. Also, remember when titling your book it’s all about the “WIIFM” factor, or “what’s in it for me.” Your audience will want to know why they should buy your book instead of someone else’s and I find more often than not that authors designing their cover often want to incorporate symbols or hidden messages. This is usually a very bad idea mostly because the only person who will get it is the author. You don’t want a cover you have to explain to your audience unless you plan on hand-selling every copy of your book. In fact, you want a cover that’s so self-explanatory even someone who isn’t your reader will get it. That’s why I suggest that while the author should offer suggestions to the cover designer, they should never be the one to do the final design. Why? Because honestly you want someone who’s never read your book to design the cover. Why? Well, your reader won’t read the book before they buy it so as I indicated earlier, the cover needs to explain itself.

My graphic designer, Leeza Hernandez-Stetzler of ConkerTree Design has done several marketing pieces for me as well as assisting me with several cover designs. Leeza says: “Think about color and shade; rich golds work well with saturated blues, Deep green and ivory have a very sophisticated business-like feel and navy works well with ivory also. Purples and mid-tone blues have a more spiritual or meditative tone while sage green is calming and so is lavender; rustic earth tones give a feeling of warmth and comfort. Soft pinks and pastels are good for romance or softer type subjects, whereas hot pinks and deep purples have a bit more spice. Grays tend to be more subdued, sometimes bordering on depressive. Black has a more serious association which is good when used in books that offer information and business, like 'how-to's advice.” She does caution, however, to use the boldness of bright red with care because too much of it and the effect will be lost. A touch of red, however, tailored with black and white makes a very powerful statement. Just make sure your book has the content to back it up. When it comes to red, Leeza says, “Think 'Schindlers List,' where the entire movie is filmed in black and white except that one scene where the little girl runs across the screen and she is dressed in red. How powerful was that? Would you remember the scene if she was dressed in blue, or if the movie was color, probably not.”

Here are some cover tips to help you create an outstanding cover for your book!

Front cover
· Contrast is important. Draw attention to your book by using a lighter background with darker color type or vice versa. Also, avoid choosing a color for your title that merges into the background.
· Make sure that the title and subtitle are in different fonts to draw a distinction between the two.
· Don’t use all caps; it can give a very angry impression. Instead, use both upper and lower-case letters.
· As a rule of thumb, the title should be visible from about 12 feet away, which means letters no smaller than 24 pt (1/3 inch) and preferably 36 pt (˝ inch).

Back cover
· The back cover should list the benefits of the book. Promise health, wealth, entertainment or a better life. Make it catchy and thought provoking. Again, visiting a bookstore will help you decide what draws you to a book and what’s a real turn off.
· If you’re fortunate enough to have garnered preproduction blurbs or endorsements from reviewers or specialists in your topic, don’t overuse them. I know you’re thrilled to have so many people praising your book, but don’t fill your back cover with every single one you’ve ever gotten. Use the most significant one on the cover, put one or two on the back and if you have more, use the first few pages of your book.
· The blurb about yourself should be no more than three sentences. I know, I know, you have so much to say, so much talent and so many other books waiting in the wings. But try to limit this; trust me, they may love your book, but they really don’t want to hear all about you.

· Make sure that your name and the title of the book are prominent and easy to read.
· Don’t use a complicated font. Keep it simple and easy to read.

About the author:
Penny C. Sansevieri
The Cliffhanger was published in June of 2000. After a strategic marketing campaign it quickly climbed
the ranks at to the ##1 best selling book in San Diego. Her most recent book: From Book to Bestseller was released in 2005 to rave reviews and is being called the “roadmap to publishing success.” Penny is a book marketing and media relations specialist. She also coaches authors on projects, manuscripts and marketing plans and instructs a variety of coursing on publishing and promotion. To learn more about her books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at www.amarketingexpert.comTo subscribe to her free ezine, send a blank email to:
Copyright ă 2005 Penny C. Sansevieri


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