Your book cover is not meant to be a snapshot or an exact replica of a scene from your book. A cover is a marketing piece, aimed at capturing the attention of potential readers. In the world of online shopping, your cover has about two seconds to grab the attention of a reader. Your cover is the first hurdle to clear to get sales! We encourage our authors to think long and hard about what they're hoping to see from the finished product. Often, authors have a strict vision of a particular scene from their book where all details have to be exact. The problem is that a new reader isn't going to notice or care about those things. Try not to get caught up in the minor details that are personal to you and lose sight of what your cover is out there to do: which is snag buyers who know nothing about your book!
Publisher has the final say in all cover design decisions to ensure all covers are on-genre and marketable.
From the cover, a reader should be able to tell:
- What the genre is
- What the overall tone of the book is
- Some vague idea what it might be about
A cover with dragons and castles is going to convey high fantasy pretty well. Add a girl wearing modern-day clothes on there, and now the reader knows it's portal fantasy!
Time for you to research. Look up some recent indie-published covers (within the last year or two) that are similar to yours in genre and tone. Try to stay away from the big names like Stephen King because the rules for Big Name Authors are very different than for indie authors. Get an idea of what your genre tropes are for covers. What seems to be popular? This might help you better visualize what you want on a cover, or at least understand where your designer is coming from with the designs they create for you.