Can you judge a book by its cover?

How many times have you looked at a book and the cover has left you cold? Are you more likely to read it, or use it as a doorstop? While big publishing companies have the final say in cover art, Indie authors (those who self publish) have the daunting task of finding just the right cover art themselves. Here are a few guidelines for choosing your cover.

Unless your kid is the Gerber baby, don’t use his picture. Nobody wants to see him dressed as a tomato for the school play.

If you want to use a picture of a sunset, I have 6,402 of them that my grandfather forced us to watch every time he gave a slide show. Don’t put your reader through the same torture.

People will have a hard time believing that your head belongs on Cindy Crawford’s body. Photoshop wisely.

Well-built shirtless men should not go on picture books.

Colors should not match body excretions of any kind.

Gold embossed lettering looks great on Bibles – not so much for erotica.

I’d like to give a shameless plug here for a great cover artist, who charges very reasonable prices. Collin Beishir, of Beishir Graphics had been doing cover art as a favor for family and friends. He recently opened his own business, so if you’re looking for a cover, check out his website. You can contact Collin at

My advice to writers is, pay special attention to your cover art. You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and you don’t want people using your book as a doorstop.

14 thoughts on “Can you judge a book by its cover?

  1. I agree with the point about a quality cover. I might also suggest that an indie writer invest in a stock photo, for their cover. They get professional work, without the expense of hiring a photographer. I would warn though, that there are different rates for use, so read the fine print, since you will be using it on a piece of published work.

  2. Thanks for the info Karla. I’m a long way from thinking about a cover, but when I do I’ll leave out (dang it) the picture of my grandson when he was six months old and dressed in the cutest little Denver Broncos onesy I sent. And no pictures of well-built men either? Dangs. I was hoping to get the female demographic that refuse to jump the fence.
    Checking out that website now. Thanks

  3. we’ll only dispute you on one point: we’ll take well-built, shirtless men anytime, anyplace

  4. He certainly does very good work….I’ve got the proof….5 book covers for my 5 books!! All done by the one and only Collin Beishir. Thanks to him, my books are no longer sitting on my computer for only me to read….now others can, too.

  5. When Collin sees this, his ego will get so big I’ll have to have our doorways widened.

    Seriously…thank you, Karla.

  6. *Note to self: take shirtless man and gold-embossed letters of my cover design.
    Seriously, I totally agree on all points, Karla! And go Besheir Graphics!!! All of those covers are amazing.

  7. First thing I look at – the cover. It eliminates a lot of books.
    Great advice. And Collin’s work is impeccable.

  8. Collin’s work is outstanding. He’s done the cover work for my first book in progress, and I love it. I can’t recommend him too many times.

    Note to self: remove gold embossed lettering from STT preliminary cover…

  9. You bring up good points. It boils down to “know your audience!” I suppose if you’re trying to sell picture books to a certain female population, then a shirtless man would do the trick. I’d buy it anyway!

  10. Collin definitely has the talent. He’s already better than most out there and he’s only going to get better.

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