The Importance of a Cohesive Message on Your Book Cover

Rufus Steele - 1943Potential readers tend not to buy when they can’t discern quickly from the book cover what the book is about. As we talked about in the first part of this blog series on book covers, the main title, subtitle, graphic or photograph – and the colors and fonts – must work together to present a cohesive message to the reader, and one that is quickly understood in the few seconds it takes for a reader to decide whether or not the book is worth further investigation.

In this book cover makeover, we show how changing the format of the book title and revising the text of the subtitle, in addition to taking the emphasis off the graphic, clarify and unify a book cover’s message to potential readers.

 

Book Cover Makeover

BEFORE

Book cover makeover - BeforeMissing from the “before” cover is a clear hierarchy of information that quickly lets the reader know what this book is about.

Because the circular graphic is so large and colorful, it is the first thing we see on the cover. The graphic overpowers both the title and the (very small) subtitle, and yet it doesn’t tell us what the book is about. In fact, we would be forgiven for thinking the title is The Four Steps! The subtitle under the graphic introduces a whole new thought (Create 360º Leaders with Know, Show, Go, Grow) and yet we still don’t know what the book is about; what is a “360º Leader” in any case? In addition, the diagram is too busy, and the numbers, words, and colors don’t match the blue background. In short, there are too many messages on the cover and some simplification is in order.

AFTER

Book cover makeover - AfterEvery cover should have a focal point and we chose the word SHIFT as the focal point for this cover. In the makeover, we separated the words Mentor and Shift and made SHIFT much bigger so that it grabs the eye immediately. The title now communicates that the author will somehow “shift” the way the reader thinks about mentoring. The subtitle, which is now more informative, indicates exactly what the reader can expect if he or she buys this book: A four-step process to improve leadership development, engagement and knowledge transfer. The graphic supports the subtitle as there are clearly four steps in what the reader now knows is a process diagram. The repeating shadow supports the “shift” message. You’ll notice that we also chose a different endorsement for the top of the cover, one that supported the “mentoring” message. In addition, we selected colors for the text, graphic, and background that complement each other.

When taken together, readers now know that this book will shift the way they think about mentoring executives, that it’s a NEW way of thinking about mentoring, and that it entails a four-step process that will improve three key management skills.

MORE!

Stay tuned for our next blog showing another BEFORE and AFTER book cover analysis.

Cover Samples: We have updated our book cover samples with new covers that were designed in the last year. Click here to take a look!

Watch the webinar: The “before and after” covers shown in this blog series are taken from the webinar Anatomy of a Book Cover with Michele DeFilippo and Brian Jud. You can view the full webinar here.

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