The Art of Cover Design

No Prisoners Taken cover redesign by L. Torres

All the way back in 2021 I took a walk with one of my old clients along the coastal cliffs of Santa Barbara.

He is a well known author with over 27 published titles in business management, and a voracious writer. I learned a lot from about international publishing, however, there was something that we never really agreed upon. The critical importance of a good cover.

As we walked along the narrow trail, avoiding gopher holes and small patches of dry grass, he lamented on a dip in book sales. While the industry is reporting that book sales are down across the board, I knew that there was still that underlining issue of getting someone to pick up the book.

I cleared my throat. "You need to update your book covers, I told him as we walked. "Your content is amazing - and some of your quotes I use all the time. But for someone to read it they first have to want to pick it up."

 

Some epic cover designs

He was quiet, so I took the opportunity to expand on my position.

"Walking into a bookstore is like looking for a date. When a person enters, they are demonstrating an interest in 'finding a date,' or at least browsing to see what is out there."

"They are in a room full of potential, looking around to find someone to talk to. We all have to admit that there is an element of initial attraction, whether a nice smile, a beautiful spine, or an addicting stare, something will spark that initial interest. That something is the cover."

"Then the small talk begins, with the book back giving a friendly summary of who they are and what they do, allowing the parties to learn a bit about each other."

"Conversation naturally converts to flipping pages, the smell of the ink, the feel for the paper, and reading random snippets; just as meeting someone compatible can lead to time flying by as you yearn to learn more. Eventually, the person realizes they don't want to leave without their object of interest..."

"The cover attracts, the book back introduces, and the flip through generates the trust that leads to someone buying the book. And maybe an awesome series of afternoons, evenings, and lazy mornings."

My old client and I continued on the looping trail for some time, talking and discussing life and business.

"You were the best cover designer I ever worked with," he admitted later on as we finished our walk back at the parking lot. It really meant a lot to hear that. Especially from someone I consider a mentor. We said our goodbyes.

Several months later and my old client had released one of his most popular titles with a new cover - and a significant spike in sales followed.