Authored By: Samantha Zacharda
Marketing Director & Promotion
Interview With: Moira Nelligar
Published By: Lot’s Cave
In today’s saturated market, there are plenty of books for sale. While the erotic market was once a small corner of the overall eBook trend, it is now filled with potential authors. Many of these authors self publish, or go through indie publishers. The market’s saturation has left many authors going back to the drawing board. No topic could be more debated than what goes into a great cover. With so many authors debating the topic of cover art, we decided to ask an even better question. What goes into erotica covers, and are there any differences? What we found, is more than just a little surprising.
What Makes A Great Cover?
Everyone knows that a great cover is essential to selling a book. The science behind this process however is tough to define. At first a cover must draw readers’ attentions, making a book stand out from those around it. In today’s market however this isn’t enough to guarantee a sale. A great cover must also create interest by conveying the book’s story. Readers want to know what they’re buying. Covers communicate a book’s feel, before readers even see the description. Judging a book by its cover’ is true for readers, authors, and cover artists. There’s a reason books are defined by their cover and content. The two should be echoes of each other. Ensuring the heart of the book is conveyed in cover’s images guarantees sales.
How Do Good Covers Become Great?
Everyone knows what a bad cover looks like. These are the covers that aren’t necessarily bad images; they just fail to capture any attention or interest. A good cover then gets either attention or interest, but falls short in capturing both qualities necessary for a great cover. The single factor which separates a good cover from a great one is a great cover captures both attention and interest. This attention should create enough interest to ensure that readers move from the cover to the book’s title and description. A great cover pulls in the necessary interest and curiosity, and it needs to be backed up with great metadata. Following this formula for peeking a reader’s curiosity and initial interest will prompt successful sales.
What Do Artists Need From Authors For A Great Cover?
What a cover artist needs for a great cover is found in great metadata. Authors need to have a basic understanding of metadata to truly get a great cover for their book. Metadata should contain keywords that evoke images in an artist’s mind. Keywords combined with a short synopsis of the story, gets a great cover every time. The keywords highlight the feel of a book’s story, while the synopsis has all the necessary intricate details. Done right, the cover artist should never need to read a full manuscript. If they need to dig for minor appearance details, that’s alright. On its own though, the metadata for a book should make it easy to create a great cover.
What Does A Book’s Metadata Communicate?
A book’s metadata should communicate what the cover artist needs most, an understanding of the story’s essence. Without this information, a cover artist’s hands are tied. Descriptions include all basic information for the artist i.e. character appearances, setting, and plot details. Remember, cover artists do not make one cover at a time. Many artists have dozens if not hundreds of covers to produce in a given month. Reading an entire story is not possible for many cover artists, as such, metadata must communicate for the story. If a cover artist has to read your story to gain enough information you need to enhance your metadata writing skills. Asking a cover artist to read your story just for a basic understanding isn’t only unfair, it’s also reflects badly on the abilities of an author and therefore, their story.
Are Author Opinions Helpful?
Generally speaking, authors need to really take a step back from sharing their opinions on what a book’s cover should look like. Cover artists know how to do their job, and will create great covers provided they’re free to do what they know how to do best. When authors start sharing their personal opinions, many artists feel limited. Working within an author’s boundaries, the cover artist usually has no choice but to create a good cover rather than a great one. Authors rarely understand how to capture both attention and interest; as such cover artists cannot make both a great cover and make an author completely happy. For authors it’s best to simply wait for a suggested cover image. Once an image has been suggested, it’s easier for exceptions to come up. Keep in mind, exceptions do sometimes happen. Artists can get confused, or not know where to begin. This usually goes back to metadata though, so ensure that a book’s metadata speaks for you.
Should Authors Select Cover Images?
Putting it bluntly, authors should never pick their cover images. There’s a reason a cover artist has the job they do. When authors pick their own images, they once again limit a cover artist’s creativity. This isn’t to say authors have bad taste in images, what it means is that authors don’t have a good understanding of what sells. Creating a great cover is more than just a sexy or appealing image slapped with a border and text. Artists should never be limited to creating a lack luster cover. Many artists take pride in creating a great cover, so let them. As an author, just stay away from cover images. Don’t even get tempted, because all you’ll do is hurt your sales…and the book’s image. Once again, there’s a minor exception to this rule. At times, artists can ask for sample images. Keep in mind; these are samples only that will never be used as a final cover. Artists are forced to resort to this method of suggestion at times metadata fails. It all goes back to great metadata, spare yourself hours of sorting through images that will never communicate exactly what you want. Write metadata that communicates the details your story needs instead.
Are There Differences In Erotica Cover Styles?
At first glance, there wouldn’t seem to be any difference between erotica covers and those of other genres. What artists must keep in mind, as well as authors, is the pit of despair that is the realm of legality. There are covers that seem like a great idea that are outright illegal to produce. For example, any cover that portrays younger females who are legal, but otherwise appear underage is illegal and will get everyone involved thrown in prison. Because of these legalities, cover artists often navigate thinly expressed realms of creative expression. Only in the erotica genre does this issue happen. Many times, cover artists find photo stock is not licensed for erotica purposes. This is particularly true for controversial erotica like incest, BDSM, and Dubious Consent. Authors may not think of it, but cover artists are forced to keep these boundaries in mind. Luckily, they still create great covers.
What Goes Into A Cover’s Title Font?
To start with, a cover’s font must be out of the ordinary enough to draw a reader’s attention. Picking a font consists of a unique look will pique curiosity and attention. At the same time, the font must also refrain from being dated. Book’s often go through the same trends as any other markets do. Keeping a font style that’ll outlast the latest trend can ensure long-term sales. Font should also refrain from using anything frilly, or incorporating anything perceived as a frill like font. Often times these frills are not actually conveyed across far distances henceforth losing their intended goal. With all that in mind, an artist and author both must keep in mind limited spacing. Any font used should create enough space on the overall cover image. For authors this means short titles, while for artists this means refraining from bold fonts that are so thick they take up an entire half of the book’s cover.
How Do Great Covers Sell eBooks?
Overall great covers are only part of a larger more in-depth selling process. A great cover completes two steps of this four part process that results in moving the potential buyer into making a purchase. By first drawing a buyer’s attention to the book, without this initial attention and created interest there’s no way for a book’s sale to occur. Keep in mind, this process has four steps. That means if any part of the process loses the reader’s interest or attention the chances of a sale are almost nonexistent. In other words, a book’s cover capturing attention and maintaining interest are essential components of a book’s sale.