When an author finishes writing a novel, beyond the editing and polishing that comes next, an important decision is staring them right in the face… The cover! The cover of a book is what draws the reader to your novel. Anyone who has shopped for books, whether online or at a bookstore, is drawn to the book by the first thing they see, the cover. Yes, we then turn the book over and read the synopsis to see if its worth reading, but we’re not going to pick up the book if the cover doesn’t attract my eye.
“Aspiring authors, get this through your head. Cover art serves one purpose, and one purpose only, to get potential customers interested long enough to pick up the book to read the back cover blurb. In the internet age that means the thumb nail image needs to be interesting enough to click on. That’s what covers are for.”― Larry Correia
When I finished each of my novels, the first thing (besides a loud sign of relief) that came to mind was the cover. What was I going come up with to draw readers in? For my first novel, Forever Avalon, I knew exactly what I wanted. The image of a flying galleon was the big magical reveal and I knew it would draw people in. Luckily, the artist saw through the words of my book and brought my vision into life. My wife says it looks “cartoonish” and makes it look more like a children’s book rather than an adult novel. We agree to disagree because I love my cover.
For my second novel, The Dark Tides, the cover art was a stock image. I had millions of images to pick from and this one just stood out to me. The dark lightning tied it into the idea at the heart of the novel, an all encompassing spell called The Dark Tides. The ship ties it back to the first book, and so in this stock art, I found the perfect cover to express the ideas behind my novel.
“I always think that it’s wrong to put images of my protagonists on the cover of my novels because readers can identify with characters only if they are given the chance to imagine them independently.”― Orhan Pamuk, The Innocence of Objects
For The Outlander War, I finally wanted to show the floating island of Emmyr. For those who may not be familiar with my fantasy book series, Emmyr is the Dragon Isle. It floats in the sky above Avalon due to the concentration of magic due to the dragons that live there. Emmyr is front and center of the war between the modern military forces and Avalon in the novel, so I wanted to show that. I also thought a silhouetted view of the island and the battle going on around it would be easier to display. This conflict is the heart of the story and you see it all in this cover.
As I write, the story goes through my mind like a Broadway play in stage, and I translate that performance into the words of my novel. At the end of the process, I take all of that imagery and try to find one thing that will catch the eye of a reader. Just one thing to tell the story and make someone say, “I want to read that book!” Remember these words…
“Good cover design is not only about beauty… it’s a visual sales pitch. It’s your first contact with a potential reader. Your cover only has around 3 seconds to catch a browsing reader’s attention. You want to stand out and make them pause and consider, and read the synopsis.”― Eeva Lancaster, Being Indie: A No Holds Barred, Self Publishing Guide for Indie Authors
# # #
Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers.