Tired and worn though this axiom may be, its truth endures. A picture really is worth a thousand words. Further, when that picture is used for the cover of your ebook, it might well be worth thousands of dollars too. After all, when it comes right down to it, great photographs sell more books. Of course, this begs the question, how does one produce these marketing marvels? Fortunately, there is an approach you can take to achieve positive visual results.
Research, Research, Research
If this is your first book and you’re handy with a camera, you can save yourself a lot of money by shooting the picture yourself. However, before you do, spend a lot of time looking at book covers to see how others have approached similar situations. The main thing is to make sure the picture you create conveys the essence of the book.
If you’re selling ebooks with a publisher, you’ll likely have to run the concept of the photo shoot by them to get approval. This can be good, as their experience can help you think of things you may have overlooked. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open, so you know exactly what they’re expecting. After all, they’re going to be putting effort in to help sell the book, so they’re entitled to a say. If you’re self-publishing, get a second set of experienced eyes to look over your shoulder and spot details you might miss.
Consider the Other Cover Elements
While the primary image is very important, it must also share space with the title of the book, your byline and possibly other information. Leave room for a title in a prominent font size. Smaller type will carry your name. There might even be a sub-title as well. Take the placement of all of these elements into consideration during the shoot so the photograph is unencumbered when the type is superimposed. This means your primary subject might need to be framed off center or lower in the frame to ensure it is still visible when the copy is applied. If you’re working with a graphic designer, get them to give you a sketched mockup of their plan so you can frame the photograph to fit within it properly.
Lighting, sharpness, framing and resolution are critically important to this type of photography. Lighting will determine the mood the photo conveys, which in turn will have an emotional effect upon the viewer. If you’re shooting for a love story, you’ll likely want to evoke a romantic mood. If you’re shooting for a mystery, you might prefer a dark and foreboding image. In other words, make sure the lighting and framing help you tell the story.
Both of these examples might also lend themselves to soft focus, rather than razor-sharp clarity. However, the image should be shot with enough resolution to stand being blown up to billboard size if needed for promotional purposes. Framing the shot a bit more loosely than you think you need to is also a good idea. This gives the designer more flexibility with the finished image.
Once you have the right concept and design in hand, the rest should proceed with ease. The main thing is to make sure your idea fits with the nature of the book. You want a viewer to be drawn into the possibilities of your story when they see the cover. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way toward accomplishing just that. Great photographs really do sell more books.