In our world today we have roughly 8 seconds to capture someone’s attention. When working the cover design for our first book in the series, The Enigma Factor, we had all these grandiose ideas of putting characters, a picture of the enigma machine, WWII symbols, computers, and technology symbols on the cover of the book. In short it was to be a hodgepodge of stuff represented inside the story. Would the various elements we imagined capture enough heartstrings of those who saw it to draw them to buy?
We’ve all heard the adage, you can’t judge a book by its cover, but I have bought several books simply because the cover caught my attention. Some element of the cover struck a chord in my emotional structure, and I was captivated enough to buy it. To be honest, I do gravitate to authors I know and enjoy because of consistency. However, for me and the amount I read, I cannot always find a new one from a familiar author. Hence my attraction to a cover and subsequent purchase. Over the years, I have only had one or two dud stories when I purchased this way. In most cases I find a new author that intrigues me enough to hunt them down for additional stories. This was what we wanted for the first book in the series.
The rights to pictures and graphics such as we envisioned was also a concern. Much like our story rights, artists and photographers rights are to be respected, especially by authors. In case you are not aware, there are many free or minimum cost graphics available and readily searchable on the Internet. Finally deciding we needed additional expertise, we went hunting for help.
Who can help?
Some authors know illustrators who can be used. Others have friends and family that lend a hand or way too many suggestions. We had all of that but still were not hitting the mark. Something was not working in our process. Thankfully, we spoke to some graphic designers in the industry as well as seriously looked at books we were currently reading in similar genres.
We discovered that the covers we liked were simple and focused on the main element of the story. In our case that meant some 001101010 scattered like the digital bits in our technology enabled world and a single person seeing those bits and bytes. This was meant to represent the hero coming of age in the technology of today.
You as the author have to be delighted with the wrapper on the product you worked so hard to create. It needs to provide a window to the interior through the pictures or symbols on the outside. There is also the bit of marking words on the back which can also help. Keep it simple and focused. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but for an unknown author, it can make the difference in audience attraction.
About the Authors: Breakfield and Burkey
Charles V. Breakfield is a lifelong technology geek who currently works as a solution architect for a global high-tech carrier, functioning within hybrid data and telecom environments. When he isn’t writing, Breakfield enjoys riding his Harley, studying World War II history, and practicing his woodworking skills.
Roxanne E. Burkey is passonate about writing, which incorporates many of her interests and dovetails nicely with her full-time work in customer experience technologies. After successfully writing white papers and technology documentation, she wanted a different—more fun, less stress—writing outlet. Her coauthor Charles Breakfield agreed, and The Enigma Series began. She enjoys learning, traveling, family, outdoor activities, good food, wine sampling, reading, living, cooking, and visiting good friends, which helps to bring diversity and new ideas into the stories. She is still learning humor, and there is hope for this century that she will master it!