5 Steps To Choosing the Perfect Book Cover
"Your book cover is just so beautiful," is a compliment I feel blessed to have received from many of my reader friends.
"Secrets in the Wind" is my latest publication, a YA thriller novel published in February of this year. I figured that since I have been sharing a lot about my writing and book journeys, I have yet to share my cover journey. So here's what I looked for when choosing my book cover and here's to hoping it will guide you in choosing the perfect book cover for your future publication!
I checked out my competition. American Journalist David Leonhardt said, "If people don't notice your cover or don't connect with it, the author of the book next to yours will be grateful." Like any author, I wanted my book cover to stand out on a bookshelf, enough for a reader to grab it at first sight. In order to do that, I researched other book covers, either:
1...within the same theme as "Secrets in the Wind,"
2...within the same target audience of "Secrets in the Wind,"
3...or had a similar plot to "Secrets in the Wind."
I used search words like "South Asian Literature," "YA Novels" and "Thriller books" among others; feel free to throw in the word, "bestselling," although there are equally brilliant books out there that are not bestselling, yet 100% worth the read. I ended up with a South Asian bride surrounded by palm leaves, on the cover, hoping it was attractive enough to capture anyone's attention regardless of age group. Researching already-published book covers also inspires when you have no idea what you want on the cover.
I hoped "Secrets in the Wind" could be something for any coffee table at any house. That is why I chose the colors black, white and gold, not only because it can pretty much match any color scheme of a home's interior design, while still standing out, but also because black represents coffee, white represents milk, and gold represents tea and biscuits. All of these make for a cozy setting for any read.
I experimented a lot! That's the fun part; choosing a few different elements, putting them together and hoping it works out. It's like putting together a puzzle, but the pieces don't always make sense. I had first wanted an illustration of two sisters in South Asian attire and contacted a few illustrators. However, after discussion with my publisher, I ended up wanting a vector graphic design more. Here's a secret, I initially chose a cover that had an element that was already on another book cover (already published) and I caught that mistake of mine, just in time (Whew, God is Great)! This meant I had to go a few steps back on my search for the perfect cover for "Secrets in the Wind." At least, by that time, I had already gotten a gist of what kind of elements I wanted to have on my cover.
I shared my ideas with others. I had a few cover ideas that I wanted to share with my publisher, but before I did that, I asked the people closest to me, my husband and my children, for their opinions on which cover idea looked most attractive. Then, I asked my cousins, a.k.a "JNRST" in the "acknowledgements" section of "Secrets in the Wind." These people are significant in my life because they are always there for me and give it to me straight. They also represented potential readers of "Secrets in the Wind."
I summed it up without giving away too much. The book cover should represent something that has to do with the actual plot of the story, but not give it all away. Thus, I focused on coconut trees, palm leaves and a child bride. Therefore, I had hoped that the book cover of "Secrets in the Wind" would be attractive enough and mysterious enough for any curious reader to pick up.