Guest Post: On the importance of good cover art

It’s been a while since I’ve had a guest post on my blog, but I’m making up for it with a few in the next month or so, kick-starting with Samantha Bryant, fellow member of the Writers Coffeehouse, and writer of women’s fiction.

Judging My Books by Their Covers

Writing a book is difficult, but selling one? That’s a whole second level of difficult. Most writers aren’t also marketing experts, graphic artists and social media mavens. Though writers who stay in the game tend to develop either skills or partnerships in all these areas.

A key marketing piece is the cover. A good cover, more so than the actual contents of the book, can be the deciding factor in a sale. Beyond just looking professional, a book’s cover also needs to entice readers, suggest genre, and hint at content. It needs to both play within expectations and attract attention by being distinctive. It’s quite a task for an artist. No matter how good the story is inside, a poorly designed cover will keep most readers from ever picking it up to look inside.

I do not have any skill as an artist. Luckily, my publishers hired a talented artist to handle this for me. Polina Sapershteyn did the covers for both of my menopausal superhero novels, and I am thrilled with the end product in each case.

The Menopausal Superheroes series is part women’s fiction, part superhero story. The first book, Going Through the Change, is largely an origin story for the four main heroes, and the sequel, Change of Life, is about coming together as a team. The hook, or the thing that sets my superhero series apart is that all the heroes are grown women, going through menopause.

That was a lot to bring together in a book cover. So, check them out!

My covers

The best thing about these covers, in my opinion, is how eye-catching they are. Whether viewed sitting on stands at my author table or in thumbnails on a bookseller’s site, they do draw the eye, especially book 1, with that bright yellow. The heroic torso is a bit of a trope for superhero stories, and I loved how Polina played with that, giving the torsos some girth and the shirts wrinkles at the breasts. These covers manage to announce the books a superheroes, while suggesting the humor and feminism all in one image.

The second cover also echoes the first cover without just repeating it. It’s a different woman’s torso (Patricia this time, instead of Helen), but the shirt wrinkles and painted nails are still there. The pearls were a good touch to suggest the age of the character, even when drawn in a comic-book style.

The next time you’re shopping for a read, take a moment and notice what draws you and puts you off from books. And, if you’re a writer, keep in mind that first impression that your cover is making for you. If cover art is not your baileywick, it might be worth the investment to hire the work. Readers really do judge a book by its cover.

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Samantha Bryant is a middle school Spanish teacher by day, and a novelist by night, which makes her a superhero all the time. She’s the author of the Menopausal Superhero series. Book 2: Change of Life, just released April 21, 2016 (but you should read book 1 first). You can find her on Twitter @mirymom1, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/samanthadunawaybryant or on her website/blog http://samanthabryant.com

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