Why Your Cover Matters More Than You Do

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Kidding. Your cover doesn't matter more than you do. 

But it kind of does, though. 

The cover is an important aspect of the book. I'm just going to say it: your cover sucks. Sentimental people say, "Don't judge a book by its cover uwu!" Well, what else would they judge it by if they've never seen or heard of it before? If someone in your target audience doesn't see what they're interested in within your cover, they will not click on it. Though I can't tell you what to do specifically, as covers are individual to each unique book, I will tell you what you don't do. 

Covers are your simplest forms of communication. It relays four things: the book's genre, audience, tone, and message (what it's about). I'll just run through these quickly because they're pretty self-explanatory. 

1. Genre. If it's an action novel, don't do a cover with two people making out, even if the story incorporates a romance. If it's a thriller about a shark attack, don't do a cover with a calm, sandy beach littered with seashells. Don't waste precious explanation through the form on your cover on something that doesn't pertain to the main theme of the story. 

2. Audience. When publishing a book, Wattpad literally asks you what your audience is, so it's pretty hard to screw this up. In short, ask yourself this: who is reading my book, and what are they interested in? The answer will be different for teen boys than it will be for fifty year old women, so write accordingly. 

3. Tone. Essentially, if the book is serious, don't make the cover funny. The cover must convey the feeling you get when reading it. Crime thriller? Anticipation. Romance? Butterflies in the tummy. Action? Adrenaline. 

4. Message. What's this piece of trash about? Create a cover based around a major plot element in the book. On the poster of the Shutter Island movie, Leonardo DiCaprio is pictured with a very agitated, disconcerted look, and beneath his face is a picture of an ominous island.

If you've seen the movie, you'll know that (spoiler) he ends up having gone crazy after killing his family, and now he's trapped in an asylum on the island. You don't know that from seeing the cover, but not only does it pertain to the plot but it draws you in and makes you wonder why he's so distressed and what the heck happened on that godforsaken island. 

The cover needs to be immediate. In this age of instant gratification, we want to know what it's about, and we want to know now. Covers must be compelling, and they need to get straight to the point. Focus on one large idea rather than several small ones to keep the eye from searching around for too long, and make sure whatever the picture is, it attracts the same amount of awe even when it's a tiny little image next to your description. 

It needs to be unique. It needs to play up on why your book is different that every other book in that genre. Why are people going to want to read your book? I don't know. You tell me. If I don't know the answer to those questions after reading your title and looking at your cover, you've screwed it up. 

So, now you've got a good title and a good cover. You may be asking, "What's next?" Romance novels. More specifically: love triangles. More specifically than that: why love triangles are the spawn of Satan and should be burned at the stake. 

"Are they really that bad?" You ask. 

I guess you won't know until you keep reading. 

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