Earlier this year, when I published my first novel, I went through quite a cycle of indecisiveness with the cover. It all started from trying to fit my book into a genre. I figured it could be called a YA Sci-fi, but then I ran into issues. My book is too long to be a YA, my protagonist starts a bit too young, the fantasy/science-fiction elements are on the complex side and the social themes I delve into are on the mature side. In short-my book does not fit neatly into a genre. My mistake was trying to force on it a genre.
Anyhow, let’s get back to cover design. I worked with a talented illustrator and decided on a cover that was geared toward a younger audience, but not only was I conflicted over my choice myself, my readers unanimously clamored for a new, more mature cover. I revised my cover, quickly, but I had already wasted valuable time. Since then I have tried to think through my cover art more thoroughly.
While researching cover design while working on my second book, I came across this advice column on Cover Design on Completely Novel that I found to be a comprehensive guide on the topic. Here’s a link to the page – http://completelynovel.com/self-publishing/writers-toolbox-cover-design. Worth taking a look if you are working on a cover.
Another good article I came across on Alli, complete with a case study on the wonders of a cover redesign – http://www.selfpublishingadvice.org/publishing-how-to-design-the-best-book-cover-for-online-sales/
I have now hung up a note for myself on my cork board – A good cover design is second in importance only to good editing. Take time, a whole lot of time with the cover design.