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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Interview with Book Cover Designer Ken Fraser

What is the key to good cover design for books? Visual IMPACT is the key in this day and age. If it doesn’t catch the eye it doesn’t even get picked up or looked at online. Your cover needs to be a good reflection of the content you have written about. But it also needs to attract those you want to buy the book. A sports book about great athletes that has a cover primarily done in pink is not necessarily going to attract the “macho men” readers you are looking for. It’s called target marketing, and your cover is your biggest advertising tool. A good cover can be very creative and impactful, without being overly designed and so cluttered that the eye doesn’t know where to focus. I have seen covers that have a great title, but because of all the background images, was extremely hard to read. 

How do you determine what the key elements of a book cover should be? It’s based on individual titles, and varies, but imagery is what I think is the key element. Attention grabbers. Taking a portion of the title and playing off of that to emphasize it makes a big difference. Color also plays a factor in the overall look. Emotional drama in the minds of the reader cause a reaction, and indices them to pick it up. Type style can also make a difference. It must be immediately readable, not too scripty or sloppy. A strong title with a good title treatment. Fonts, colors, and effects that compliment  the title as it relates to the background images. Background imagery or effects that can say the right things to the reader, even before they read  the title. Again colors and style that compliment the title and does not make it hard to read.

Can we really judge a book by its cover? YES, YES, YES! Well that’s what most people do. You need a professional book designer with the experience, creativity and the ability to create an eye catching, impactful cover that says, “look at me, pick me up, buy me!” Yes, you may save a couple of bucks with a “cookie cutter” book cover, but make no mistake, it will cost you much more in lack of sales down the road. Seriously, if this really is your baby, the project you have worked hard on and slaved over to write, then you want a nice warm blanket to wrap it in, not some paper thin sheet. Your writing deserves the very best cover it can have, and it will truly make a difference in the sales that it brings in.
How long have you been designing book covers? I have been designing covers for over 16 years now. And I have created hundreds of them. In just about every subject. This is my life’s passion now.

What inspired you to get involved in books? I have always been a creator. Inspiration comes from creativity and the ability to see something other than the obvious. I felt there was a great need for good cover design and I love doing them because of how creative I can be with just a single title.

What do you find rewarding and challenging when working with authors and publishers? The greatest reward would seeing how “blow away” they are when they see there baby (book) come to life. When they see a design that goes way beyond their expectations. I love to be a part of their dreams and helping make it a reality. Sometimes, and its more and more rare, but the most challenging is convincing them to let go and trust the designer,  that the design is really going to make a difference. Sometimes their inductiveness can get to me cause I know what is going to bring more success for their book.

Do you design differently knowing that book covers are viewed online as often as they are in a book store? Well, not really since my designs have so much impact in both areas. Wether it’s on a shelf at a book store or on an Amazon webpage, it’s going to get the attention it deserves and entice the reader to take a closer look.

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource."

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