December 5, 2014

Your Book Cover Must Evoke Emotion and Memory

By Lynette Ferreira

The first impression of your book cover must create a stir of responses in the book buyer. An immediate feeling of emotion and connection. A book essentially promises to take the reader on a journey full of imagination, so you cover's message must be clear enough for the reader to understand they can experience everything they are looking for in it.

The book buyer decides within three to five seconds to purchase your book or scroll by.

Your book cover is probably the most important thing in getting your book noticed out of 14,000+ books published on a daily basis. That image, which will now forever be associated with your book, is the single biggest piece of marketing your book will ever receive. For self-published authors who have not yet built up a big following, the cover may be the only thing that gets a reader or reviewer to click on the book and not scroll by. Most times books will sell based solely on its cover and your book needs a cover that readers want to know more about. If the reader does not know the author and if the book does not catch the reader’s eye, the reader will scroll right past. Game over.

Your book cover must arouse an instant response of emotions with the reader, to get the reader to click on it without scrolling past.

Studies have shown that books with flowers on them will appeal to women, but most men will steer clear. Adding the color red may evoke passion, heat, or intensity – but it can also look cheap and unappealing. Blue will be calmer and more relaxing. Purple is an eye-pleasing color. White can disappear on a screen. Small type is hard to read. Thrillers are generally darker, use large type, and depict shadowy men. At the moment, words (without any images) seem to be popular.

Novel readers are often looking for an emotional benefit.

As with any product, the consumer is looking for some kind of benefit. They will buy the book to be emotionally moved, so your cover needs an emotional hook – an image, a typeface, a color, or all three. Once the cover engages the reader emotionally, everything else is set in motion.

Books tell stories, so designers use a host of visual cues (image, color, and font) to articulate the essence of the book. The cover sets the story, so when the reader sees it, they should have an immediate flash of intuition. They should have a sense of the story already. Beautiful is not what the book buyer is looking for; they want a visual that pulls them into the story even before they have read the description.

So when you see your own book cover for the first time, don’t think about whether you love it or hate it. Consider this: Will this stand out? Is the cover’s message clear? Does this engage me emotionally?
Lynette Ferreira is proudly self-published and writes young adult (teen) fiction. She worked as a Personal Assistant at a major international financial institution for most of her adult life, where she poured all her creative talents into proposals and marketing material. She has a Diploma in Marketing. In 2009 she self-published her first novel, My Recycled Soul. Since then, novels she has written include Would you Remember ME,When we Love, Guardian Angel, Fornever and Layered. Her Flash Fiction stories can be read on-line for free at Readwave. She now lives in theUnited Kingdom. Visit her at

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