Do we really judge a book by its cover?
Yes, of course we do, which makes its design a major marketing and branding decision. I put it second only to the content on the pages. After all, someone might buy a book based on an attractive cover, but if the stuff between the covers isn’t all that good, he won’t recommend it to anyone or buy your second book.
I commissioned artwork for the illustrations in The Murder in Skoghall, including the cover. What I got back is great, but not cover material. My artist is an illustrator, not a cover designer, and the artwork looks like it belongs on a graphic novel, not a ghost story/mystery. As much as I liked the picture, I couldn’t use it as my cover.
This is the cover the illustrator did. Some of it is exactly what I want and some of it…not so much. Overall, it just doesn’t say ghost story/murder mystery. And the font is all wrong.
I’m obsessed with fonts. I love them. If I knew I was going to live a few hundred years, I’d enroll in a typography course and start designing my own. Given that I’ll probably live less than 300 years, I need to pick and choose how I spend my time, so I satisfy myself with admiring and buying other people’s font creations.
I’ve found some great font packages at creativemarket.com.
Because Skoghall is a series, the choices I make now will affect multiple books to come. I’m building a brand with this design. I want a special font for the cover that I can also use inside, for the chapter headers for instance.
The thing is, once my designer puts the title in the fonts I like onto the cover, they look too busy. Or they transform the carefully laid out ghost story/mystery cover into another genre entirely. It’s surprising how much difference a few letters can make. And it’s not. That is why this entire profession of typography exists, after all.
Each typeface has a different feel to it. Besides having to work with the cover art, it has to evoke the mood of the story. I rejected a font because it said “horror.” Another font that I loved on its own said “faerie folk” when it was placed on the cover.
It’s surprising how the shape of a few letters can completely change the feel of the cover.
See what I mean?
Here are a couple of examples of my new mock up from my designer, Rene at Phycel Designs.
We’re getting close. What do you think?