You Hav EIGHT Seconds!

Breakfield and

You cannot judge a book by the cover, it is the content that matters. A true statement, but if the initial glance misses the mark, no one looks inside. For an author, this is a harsh lesson. Today, you have less than eight seconds to grab a potential reader with the cover. A confession here for some transparency, we are all guilty of picking up a book because the imagery struck a chord. It might be the title, author’s name, best-selling, award-winning composition, or captivating graphics. The correct combination is critical for a book’s success. If the cover catches someone’s eye, their next step is to look at your back cover. They would not read your highly polished grab statements unless you captured their imagination.
Time's up.
When working on the cover design for our first book in the series, "The Enigma Factor", we had all these grandiose ideas of putting characters, a picture of the enigma machine, WWII symbols, computers, and technology symbols. In short, it was to be a hodgepodge of stuff represented inside the story. Fortunately, we had some excellent guidance which we want to share.
The title of the book is vital. Short and to the point for valuable communication to a potential reader. It needs to be memorable, like "When Whales Watch" by Mara Purl, "Everything Changes" by Catherine Bybee, "When God Says No" by Judith Briles, or "The Hunt for Red October" by Tom Clancy. As a rule of thumb, titles should contain five words or less with subtitles of three to seven words.
It is all about real-estate, and at the end of the day, space is limited, so waste nothing. When the reader is scanning the physical or virtual shelves of their bookstore, the words must be legible. This is achieved with the color, size, and placement of the title, in relationship to the reader’s eye. Keep in mind most people read left to right. A vertical title can work if it is only a few letters.
We would not recommend going for the Guinness World Record for the longest title, currently at 3,777 words. That is like capturing the Lord’s Prayer on a grain of rice. Interesting, no doubt, but not widely read.

Read the entire article in the May 2021 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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