Friday, December 20, 2013

How to judge a book's covers

Beyond writing a good book, and creating the perfect title, the next critical element for a book's success is your book cover.

The 12-15-13 New York Times book review section has a disappointing photo piece titled The Best Book Covers of 2013.  It's hard to judge but I see better covers every day. How are these the best?  Of the twelve shown, I honestly only like the final one "The Art of Sleeping Alone."

As the columnist Nicholas Blechman (the Book Review's art director) quotes book designer George Salter, regarding a good jacket ... "must be in perfect accord with the literary quality of the book."  I agree but can't see why the covers chosen fit the bill. It sure does prove how difficult and how subjective the world of cover design is. It is becoming more difficult to settle on a cover that pleases the publisher's sales team, marketing department, and of course, the author. But again, it is of critical importance, whether your book in on store shelves, display racks at airports, or a one-inch image among thousands of other books sold online every day.

I realize it's no easy task to convey the book's tone along with an eye-catching cover, but it is a crucial element of your next book.

To see the slideshow of all twelve, visit

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