You read it here first.
Ok, maybe you didn’t: it’s not a new idea. Just a little piece I did on the importance of covers for Nose In Books.
The thing is, our eyeballs are attracted to shiny things. It probably all started with the basics: does that food look good to eat? It does make me question the good judgement of the first person to eat a mussel, but whatever: we make a lot of calls based on what we see. Despite our great technology and evolved art, we’re still animals at the core. We like to eat, sleep, and make baby animals.
Like I said, sex sells.
Focus, people. Back to book covers. This means that your cover needs to grab a browsing reader by the eyeballs, travel down the optic nerve, and hunt around a little inside their head. We pick up so much at that first glance. Do we like that person? Is the colour of their tie right for their shoe choice? Is that a… wait, is that a coffee stain on the bottom of their tie?
Damn straight we’re not going to enjoy this meeting. You know it: we’ve turned off before we’ve started. The guy’s a slob, and he’s got cheap shoes from a dollar store.
It’s the same with your cover. It needs to tell an immediate story. The font needs to be in tune with the content (and readable at tiny sizes, because eBook thumbs are not hardcovers sized!). The picture really does need to speak a thousand words, more or less, but it also needs to be relevant. I mean, I don’t really care what your sexual preference is, but if you were expecting to take a man home, unwrap him, and then found out he was a she, you’d be… confused.
If you’re selling a vampire book and it’s not a vampire romance, do not put a bodice-ripper cover on it. You will get bad reviews, because it’s not what your customer expected.
Covers are vital. They’re your beachhead into someone’s heart.