Survive Cover Design and Blurb Writing with Sorchia Dubois
Designing a book cover and writing a back cover blurb tend to drive writers to drink—or at least to more drink. Besides working on my next book, I’m trying to come up with a fail-safe, sure-fire, one-of-a-kind, guaranteed-to-attract-attention cover for my next release.
This is not my strong suit.
I would love to hear your opinions so I’ve made a couple of surveys. I’ll post results on my website www.SorchiaDuBois.com on August 25 and Sept. 1. If you don’t want to take the surveys, just leave your best cover design and blurb tips in comments.
Here are the Links:
I searched the Interwebs for information about how to easily, quickly, and effectively design a killer book cover. Turns out, it can’t be done easily or quickly, but it can be done. Here’s what I’ve learned:
v Be symbolic
Ø Boil your conflict or premise down into a familiar image. If your book is about multiple marriages—then a ring finger with several wedding rings. Using a familiar symbol can tell a whale of a story in a small space.
v Just as in writing—Show, Don’t Tell
Ø Show the conflict, whether it’s a werewolf with dripping fangs or a lonely desert or a brain-sucking alien.
v Set the Mood
Ø Your use of colors should give readers a sense of what emotion you hope to trigger: black and red for horror, pink and blue for sweet romance.
Ø Images can show emotion as well—a couple holding hands for a sweet romance; a bloodstained baby crib for a disturbing murder mystery.
v Avoid clutter. You have two, maybe three images and no more than two font styles worth of room on a standard book cover. Yet you must somehow generate excitement/curiosity/intrigue/desire with those limited elements. Aaaaaand go.
Another major element on a great book cover is a mind-boggling blurb. Back cover blurbs should be:
v Short. 100-150 words. Browsers won’t have to click Read More. Let’s save their clicking muscles for Buy Now.
v The first line must be magically delicious. It’s your pick-up line and you haven’t had a date in however long it took you to write the book so make it good.
v Introduce the protagonist. Give readers someone to identify with—a young fortuneteller from the Bible Belt; an inexperienced lawyer trying her first case.
v Highlight the conflict. Cut right to the chase. “Smack dab in the middle of a clan war and threatened by seductive witches . . .” or “Lost and alone in the frigid wastes of Antarctica. . . “
v End with a cliffhanger. Leave them wanting more. A provocative or suspensefully-worded question works or you can literally leave your character dangling at the edge of a cliff.
v Don’t give away anything. The blurb should hint that juicy bits abound within, but if they want to be amazed, they have to buy the book.
v Don’t compare to other books. Your book is unique. Revel in its uniqueness.
v Don’t use clichés. These are as hard to avoid as the plague. Seriously, try to avoid wording like “In a world where…” or the ilk. My thought is that clichés can be useful for comedic value but at your own risk because not everyone will get it.
These general guidelines don’t take into account your genre or audience, two things you need to know extraordinary well and two things that sound easy but aren’t. Like skiing or axe throwing.
What are your secrets for designing fantastic book covers and for writing memorable blurbs?
More about the Author
Award-winning author Sorchia Dubois lives in the piney forest of the Missouri Ozarks with seven cats, two fish, one dog, and one husband. She enjoys a wee splash of single-malt Scotch from time to time and she spends a number of hours each day tapping out paranormal romance, Gothic murder, and Scottish thrillers.
A proud member of the Ross clan, Sorchia incorporates all things Celtic (especially Scottish) into her works. She can often be found at Scottish festivals watching kilted men toss large objects for no apparent reason.
Her stories blend legends, magic, mystery, romance, and adventure into enchanted Celtic knots. Halloween is her favorite time of year (she starts decorating in August and doesn’t take it down until February) and her characters tend to be mouthy, stubborn, and a bit foolhardy. Nothing makes her happier than long conversations in the evening, trips to interesting places, and writing until the wee hours of the morning. Well, chocolate cake makes her pretty happy, too.