Aicha Zoubair

Jessica Bell

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Harriet Hodgson – The Power of a Good Book Cover

The Power of a Good Book Cover

by Harriet Hodgson

Because I have a graduate degree in art, I understand the power of a good book cover. For me, the cover is like an icon that represents the content of my book. The book cover should be instantly clear to potential readers. In just a few seconds (and I do mean seconds) the cover must grab the reader’s attention.

Watch book store customers and you will see what I mean. Customers reach for a book that grabs their attention and they study the front cover for a few seconds. They turn the book over and study the back for a few seconds as well. If the cover has gotten their attention, they will open the book and speed read the contents page. Finally, if their attention is sustained, they will close the book and study the cover again.

This final step is the “make it or break it” step for the cover and for me as the author.

To understand the power of book covers, I’ve browsed Amazon for hours, looking for covers that stand out and those that miss the mark. Graphic designers know that book cover design is a complex topic and there are many parts to consider: font, font size, symbolism, color, and more. My book covers need to look good electronically, in print, and in “thumbnail” size for the Internet.

Though I’ve been a freelancer for 35+ years, I wasn’t able to provide much author input. But that’s changed. In recent years I’ve worked with publishers and self-publishers to get the best possible covers for my books. In one case, I offered to pay for the cover design and I think this helped clinch the sale. I’m fortunate to have a designer friend who does top notch work and listens to my ideas.

When I first contacted him, I was honest. “I know just enough to drive you nuts,” I said, and we both laughed. He and I work well together and he has designed six book covers for me. All of these covers used royalty-free photos from an Internet web site. Before I contact the designer, I look at more than 2,000 photos and narrow my choices down to about four. One time I narrowed my choice to one and it was a good choice. Every time I look at the cover I have a good feeling and am glad about my choice.

One cover, a winter shot of bare trees along a snowy road, with a patch of blue sky in the distance, looks like an Andrew Wyeth painting. Another is the face of a laughing girl with paint drips and splashes all over her face. When people see this photo they always smile. I really like the cover of Walking Woman: Step-by-Step to a Healthier Heart because I chose it. Why?

First, the photo has energy and you can tell the two women are walking. Second, the women are smiling and obviously enjoying their walk together. Third, one is a younger woman and one is older, and they represent two generations. Finally, there is a wonderful review on the back, a thumbnail photo of me, and brief bio. The graphic designer used blue on the back cover. Blue represents reliability and I have written a reliable book.

Better yet, Walking Woman cites reliable resources, is packed with information, includes personal stories that bring information to life, and contain inspiring and humorous quotes. The book cover is just what I envisioned in my mind while I was writing the book. It represents the cover and me.


Some 42.9 million women are living with heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, heart attack is the number one killer of women in the US. You don’t need to become a statistic. Just 30 minutes of physical activity a day can reduce the risk of heart disease, the American Heart Association notes, and it is asking women to walk. Walking is the easiest and cheapest form of physical activity. If you’re at risk for heart disease, have been diagnosed with it, sufferd a heart attack, are recovering from heart surgery, have a sedentary job, a sedentary lifestyle, or want to be fit, this guide is for you. Walking Woman gets you moving and keeps you moving. Within these pages you will find information, motivation and laughter. You may even find yourself. Fact-by-fact, quote-by-quote, step-by-step, you walk your way to better health.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Health / Wellness

Rating – G

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