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About Book Covers – Your contract with the reader

   

Preaching To The Choir And To Those Trying Out For It

   I see the millions of readers who buy your books as a conglomerate of voices singing praise for your product and depending on a never-ending supply of it. You’re catering to mainstream society, a mass of readers immersed in the pop culture and believing it is the only reality. So, speaking their language is the only rule. And even though I don’t believe a book cover with “really cool art” doesn’t sell a book – it sells the artist – there can be a protocol for the function of a book cover.

   I see it like this:

   The cover art should convey the mood and/or a principle scene that puts the prospective buyer into the book at first glance.

   The front cover should also have a few catch phrases that puts the prospective buyer’s mind into the book as follow-up once you’ve captured the buyer’s first glance. Examples might be “Non-stop action”, or “Intense”, or “A heart-pleasing romantic comedy”, or “Sleeping with poisonous snakes, spiders, and members of the opposite sex” (Providing you follow the axiom of writing about what you know).

   The back cover, or the first readable page in your ebook, should have a hundred words, more or less, that relate a summary of the story to further lead the buyer’s mind into the story.

   Where ever there is something to read on the front or back cover, the copy should be of a common font, Century School Book, or Times Roman, and big enough to be read easily. Eighteen point is good. The font you use for the book title and your name is entirely up to you.

   Given these elements of the covers, the dynamic between the Writer and the prospective reader becomes much like the elements of a common legal contract: the Offer, the Acceptance, the Consideration, and the Fulfillment. The Offer is made by the cover art and the back cover copy. The Acceptance is how well-convinced the potential buyer is by the graphic and written front and back covers. The Consideration is the cost to your customer for what is promised by the front and back covers. This is where the meeting of the minds takes place. The contract is then signed when the prospective buyer punches his credit card numbers into the purchase page. And finally, Fulfillment comes with the satisfaction of the reader with your story after what was promised by the covers. If the contract is not fulfilled, the reader has the right to a refund, and the Writer might never enter into a contract agreement with that reader again.

   In the long run, books sell more by word of mouth and by expensive promotion ads than any other way. If you follow these tips, you will be doing the right thing regardless of how well your book sells. Doing the right thing is always more important. Good luck.

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