First, the full disclosure: I am NOT a book cover designer, although I did take several advertising courses many years ago at what was then called Philadelphia College of Art (and this included a type font course).
In addition, my business partner Yael K. Miller, who actually creates the covers for my Kindle ebooks after she and I brainstorm the concept, is not a book cover designer, although she is very interested in design — especially font styles.
That said, I want to talk about the danger of creating book covers that “speak” to the author and not the audience.
CIA FALL GUY book cover:
Yael and I both liked the first cover — a manilla envelope (the kind that holds documents) stamped with TOP SECRET and the title of the book and author name. As this spy thriller is partly based on my experiences many years ago as a GS-3 for the 66th Military Intelligence Group in Munich, the manilla envelope really connected with me.
Only, in retrospective, that cover does not invite people into the story — it does not establish in the prospective audience’s mind the question: What is happening to the person this story is about?
The new cover, displayed in this post, is an image that Yael and I believe will entice fans of spy thrillers. Yael used a drop shadow on the title font in order to add to the mysterious feel of the cover.
The protagonist of CIA FALL GUY is a woman and she sets off on a quest to solve a situation that to her could be life threatening. And I think the new cover gives this sense of an unknown destination.
In conclusion, the lesson of this particular book cover is that a design has to resonate with the audience and not the author. And if you’ve made a mistake, admit it and correct it.
The good news is that Kindle ebook covers are not written in stone. An author only has to upload a new image and wait a few hours for that cover to be approved.
© 2012 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including the military fiction MRS. LIEUTENANT: A Sharon Gold Novel (2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist) and the cozy mystery CAST THE FIRST STONE.
She also has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com