Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Hunter, The Artist, and the Psychologist -- How to Ace Your Next Book Cover Prelude

The Hunter, The Artist, and the Psychologist — How to Ace Your Next Book Cover PRELUDE.
By Eric Z follow him on Twitter HERE

On the way from Hamburg to San Francisco I did some research for my next FREE book. (Well, it’s going to be free for YOU subscribers only of course.)

Here is a quick breakdown of the book “ACE THE COVER — SELL MORE BOOKS”.


The Hunter
The first step is to research what others are doing in your category/field.
What are you going to do better? How are you going to beat them!?


The Artist
Now make your cover and make it “pop”!
How is your cover going to stand out in the sea of competitors? How are you going to catch the eye of your customer?


The Psychologist
How are you going to compose the title?
  1. To rank in Amazon and “trigger” their Algorithms
  2. To catch your customer’s eye AND set it apart from the rest — your competition’s?

I went to the bookstore in the Airport and started blatantly taking pictures — James Bond style:

This is a good example of a graphic cover, high contrast and brilliant colors. “DIE DREI” is however a big popular series in Germany, kind of like Sherlock Holmes is to England:

This is my favorite book cover of the year, “DARKMOUTH” by Shane Hegarty — HOWEVER— when we are making Ebook covers, we also have to think about how this cover will look in GREYSCALE. Red on black letters look great, but not in grey scale. The cover below may not look good in grey scale either:

Although I like the Darkmouth cover better, this one below is a better bet, high contrast and definitely interesting, and definitely looks good in grey scale too:

Here is an example of what NOT TO DO, for EBooks. This cover looks fantastic on the physical book in the store. But the red letters are the same as the background in grey scale. It really doesn’t matter that much, since the thumbnail in Amazon is also full color. However, the cover in your kindle is going to look like just one grey blob:

I don’t know how you feel about the Author’s name being so huge, but I think it is narcissistic and terrible. I don’t care who the author is, I care about the content! Otherwise looks like a pretty good eye-catching cover. Notice also the use of a badge or seal, “Der Spiegel Bestseller”. Spiegel is huge in Germany, like Time magazine in the US. However, I couldn’t care less about their bestseller list. The point is the psychological effect on the buyer of the badge:

This is a GREAT example of POP. Notice how the artist used DROP SHADOW on only one element, the beetle in the middle. Definitely an A-1 cover here. Notice again the use of a badge or seal “Vox Top Thriller” — who the heck is Vox? — who cares? (The buyer!):

I think this one is excellent because of the composition. High contrast person on the left, information on the right. Notice again a meaningless badge from “Der Spiegel”:

Here is the Zbooks award for the  WORST cover of the year. A cover with a cräppy photo on it, total balogney composition (look at that background! — määäh), and meaningless badges:
However the year isn’t over yet.

This is my favorite eye-catcher so far. When you see this in the books store, YOU GOTTA PICK IT UP! I watched for about 20 minutes, EVERYONE picked up this book, they couldn’t pass it up, just because of the cover!


Another great one that juxtaposes boring brown backgrounds with vibrant burning center photos. Also notice the loose RULE OF THIRDS and again a seemingly meaningless badge/seal:

I couldn’t resist the next two covers because of the “DER”!
“DER HEALING CODE”. Why don’t they just use the English “THE HEALING CODE”?! Otherwise a good looking balanced cover:

Another “DER” cover. Totally boring, BUT, using psychology to grab the potential customer: “THE CIA TORTURE REPORT” — it works!

Another example of psychology at work.  In Europe America is a real money maker, so the more controversial you can be, the better.

Below is an example of a totally AWFUL cover with totally AWFUL content — BUT! — T. Piketty has an ace up his sleeve, he got Paul Krugman and other big wigs to endorse his book — boom! — instant bestseller = instant money. Thanks nepotism!

Here’s another really great high contrast cover, but again, red looks terrible in grey scale:

I included this one because of the excellent example of  the golden ratio at work. If you superimpose a pentagram on this cover you will see everything fits EXACTLY on a line or edge of the pentagram. Also notice the use of a golden seal. Please, if you are going to use a seal use a golden one and not a lame “DER SPIEGEL” one!

Here is my favorite cover so far. The gold leaf on the green bamboo background looks so good, I wanted to buy this book just because of the cover! They also employ a hologram seal which in my opinion doesn’t come across that well:

Another diet book. Not so sure about the background photo here, actually, I think it’s terrible. BUT — the little cartoon figures and the gold hologram seal work well:

My favorite cover of all times, balance, contrast, golden ratio, intense colors, great composition, less is more:

I’m really bummed out about this next one. Isaac Asimov is one of my favorite authors. If you don’t like science fiction, you should try Isaac anyway, he is the master. His books are simply awesome. Which makes this dud of a cover total garbage, especially for a science fiction fan:

This cover is totally confusing. It looks like a gay romance book, but if you read the back cover: they are selling it as an action book. WRONG! Don’t confuse your reader if you want to sell books — duh!

It is the year 2015 — SEX SELLS AND EVERYONE IS BUYING — still! Or have we reprogrammed humans’ DNA? Nope didn’t think so. Here is a damned clever way to get your customers’ attention: a sexy woman on the binding — works even when it’s stuffed in the shelf!

That’s it for now my friends. I am writing this book as we speak. I will even A-B test the cover with Adwords. Keep an eye on your mailboxes because your FREE book is coming soon.

Until then - SIGN UP - for the FREE Email course and tutorials and videos. I give YOU all you need to finish your book and get it on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords, Lickety Split.

Here’s to your success!

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