Book Covers: Help in Creating or Giving Input for the Design

 

image by uhexos

What Is the Book Cover

 

  • Images: the artwork or photos
  • Words: the fonts of titles and content
  • Content: title, taglines, back-cover description, and bio
  • Blurbs: endorsements

 

Good Book Covers

 

A good book covers will:

  • be more than a lovely cover; it will communicate.
  • capture the essence of the story.
  • be a reader’s first interaction with an author’s story and style.
  • shape the store browser’s opinion of the story.
  • market and advertise the book.
  • be displayed on bookmarks, posters, book blogs, and other media.
  • make its observer wonder.
  • be created for the same audience as the story was written for.
  • vie for browsers’ and book buyers’ attention.
  • beg those perusing to take a second glance.
  • compete for the attention of busy book reviewers.
  • image by Unsplash
    have a nice balance between the images and words and fonts.
  • remain within the norms of its genre, but be noticeable.
  • symbolize what will gradually be more obvious to the reader as he reads the story.
  • portray the tone and genre, as well as mood and theme.

 

Why a Book Cover Works

 

  • A well-designed cover tells the browser that the content has value to the customer.
  • For first-time authors, a great cover will make up for anonymity.
  • Interesting, intriguing covers shout interesting and intriguing story (and vice versa).

 

What Is Used in Creating a Book Cover

 

  • Depending on what’s available, some notes, a synopsis, the manuscript, and/or information about the author to understand his style.
  • Information about the period, season, and setting.
  • An idea of the story’s tone and mood.
  • Example book covers or photos.
  • Listed items important to the story, such as people or animals; be specific as to the type.
  • Physical descriptions of the hero and the heroine.

 

image by waldryano

How Authors Are Involved

 

Sometimes authors are:

  • not afforded input.
  • asked for limited input.
  • sent mock-ups and asked to choose one.
  • ignored as to their input and choices.
  • wise to let the professionals do their job.
  • resigned to love or hate their covers.

 

When You’re Asked for Input, Take Advantage

 

  • Spend time in a bookstore and
    • notice what covers have interested browsers,
    • study covers in your genre that target your audience, and
    • evaluate what makes books stand out.
  • image by Kevin-K-Model
    Suggest colors to be used. Red, yellow, and orange are considered high-arousal colors and make items appear closer. Blue, green, and purple are low-arousal colors and make things seem farther away.
  • If you have a series, ask that certain words, fonts, or images be replicated to identify the book as part of a series.
  • When choosing example photos, remember simplicity outranks complexity. Unnecessary items are distracting.

Help in the creation or input for your book cover’s design. Click to tweet.

What in a book cover grabs you when you’re browsing?

Story Setting Part 2: Real vs. Fictional

image by Comfreak

First off, remember from Part 1 that setting encompasses such elements as place, time, culture, technology, geography, and weather. Thus, you must decide whether any real setting can work for your story.

Of course, fantasy and sci-fi novels need extensive fictional world building.

Advantages of Real and Fictional Story Settings

 

Real Settings

  • It’s all laid out for you; a good map is a great help.
  • Places you know well facilitate writing the setting.
  • Your hometown makes research easy; everything’s a car ride away.
  • You can choose from many ready-made places to enhance the mood of your story. (For a somber mood, perhaps the rainy Northwest)
  • Actual places give readers a sense of authenticity within the fiction.
  • Places familiar to readers readily supply them with clear images at the story’s outset. Readers enjoy being transported to places they know.
  • Real places can help book sales to people who reside there or to visitors who’ve enjoyed the area.
image by VictorianLady

Fictional Settings

  • Anything goes, as long as it makes sense to the reader.
  • You can still employ a mix of real-setting features but give them fictional names.

 

  • You don’t have to worry about describing actual landmarks, weather, and geography that don’t live up to readers’ expectations or are wrong. 
  • You can develop the setting to fit the needs of your story: a local business, characters’ outdoor interests, and the area’s traditions.

Disadvantages of Real and Fictional Settings

 

image by Unsplash

Real Settings

  You may offend readers who know or love the place, especially if you make statements they consider derogatory.

 You must get your facts right about all elements of the setting, such as geography, weather, and time period.

 You may expect readers to know renowned places as well as you do and unconsciously leave out descriptions they need.

 You could lose sales if book reviews say you did a poor job of presenting a country, state, city, or town.

 You may spend much time researching accurate details on a small town to satisfy only a tiny portion of your readers.

Fictional Settings

  • Developing all the elements of setting can be labor intense.
  • You must ensure the setting elements you develop don’t work against other elements in your story. (In an arid spot, you have the criminal bury body parts in lush parks around the town.)

 Combination Settings

 

Both cases require work, either in research or creating the setting. Perhaps employing a combination and using the advantages of both would help with the labor. You could create a fictional setting that is a composite of multiple real places to provide authenticity and the items your story needs. Or you might create a fictional place within a real country or state.

What to consider when deciding between a fictional or real story setting. Click to tweet.

How have you used fiction and reality in developing a book’s setting?

Story Setting Part 1: It’s More Than a Place

image by homar
image by homar

What’s Included in Setting?

 

A story setting is more than the place(s) where the author sets characters. It provides the environment in which your drama unfolds, so establish it early in your story. It’s interactive—creating the mood, giving meaning to the plot, and strengthening the story theme.

umbrella-589164_1280Elements Under the Setting Umbrella

  • Locale (state, neighborhood, island, saw mill, school)
  • Weather (tornados, tsunamis, snow, fog, sand storms)
  • Atmosphere (lighting, humidity, clutter, noise, crowding)
  • Props (candle, perfume, bowie knife, vacuum cleaner, harpoon)
  • Era (Civil War, Information Age, Roaring Twenties, Ancient Greece, Civil Rights Movement)
  • Time (1942, summer, dawn, Christmas, Independence day, February)
  • Culture (social practices, laws, fads, morals & mores, politics)
  • Geography (mountains, plains, marshes, islands, deserts)
  • Plant and animal life (whales, palms, rice paddies, grizzly bears, kangaroos)
  • Population (dense NYC/Hong Kong; small town; deserted island, Indian reservation; military camp)
  • Manmade entities (ports, burial grounds, cities, museums, pyramids)
  • Agriculture (vineyard, ranches, plantations, soil, minerals)
  • Ancestral heritage (unique groups, cuisine, dialect, attitudes, religions)
  • Climate influences (ocean currents, notable winds, latitude, altitude, tropics)
  • Fantasy/Sci-fi (portals, magical/Sci-fi phenomena, future era, topography, climate)

Tips to Write a Setting

 

1. For authenticity, characters must interact with the things surrounding them. The things characters interact with should be meaningful to the story.

2.  Setting can be woven into the story through:

  • image by Wengen (Corcovado Christ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
    image by Wengen (Corcovado Christ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
    known landmarks (Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, Alamo)
  • communication devices of the period (smoke signals, black desk telephones, tablets)
  • items characters use (laser gun, plow & mule, data cards)
  • clothing (gingham dress, polyester bikini, sari)
  • music (minuet, country, reggae),
  • popular sayings (swell, groovy, ballistic)
  • rooms (lanai, parlor, veranda)
  • types of buildings (shack, palace, cottage)
  • events (bubonic plague, gold rush, D-day)
  • jobs (chimney sweep, backhoe operator, financial planner)

3. What level of setting details is needed?

  • At one end, familiar settings may need only a few details for a reader to understand the characters’ environment.
  • At the other end, created worlds and settings that are considered a character may need intricate and abundant details (a haunted house as a character).
  • Once the reader understands the setting, detailing elements may seem repetitive, especially for faster paced stories. Occasional references or, more often, using the characters’ interactions with setting elements may be more appropriate.

 

image by pashminu
image by pashminu

4. View the location as if you’re employing a movie camera.

  • First, decide the locations, and the places within locations, that best support your plot, characters, and story mood.
  • Then view the place through your camera lens. This will force you to consider all facets of the place so that you supply, or make more vivid, the features the reader needs in grasping the setting.

5. Mention notable items that readers familiar with the area expect to appear in the setting.

In Part 2, we’ll look at fictional vs. real settings.

Story setting is more than a place; consider this list of the elements. Click to tweet.

What tip do you have to ensure readers understand the story’s setting?