BLOG: Eye-Popping Tips

From Karen Saunders

Your Branding, Marketing & Self-Publishing Coach

Does Your Book Cover Design Capture the Essence of Its Contents?

Have you ever wondered if a book cover design portrays the message of the contents? More importantly, does YOUR book cover capture the essence of your manuscript? Does your cover design speak to the target market you’re trying to reach? Is it attractive, eye-catching or compelling enough for a prospective buyer to take a closer look? Do you know what to look for when critiquing a cover design?

Kerrie Lian, the senior designer on my team recently created the cover of the first book in a series for a new client, Tom Matt. Tom asked Kerrie if she liked what she created. Her answer was very insightful and I would like to share it with you.

Shown below is the front cover design. The target market for this book is the “Baby Boomers” generation. The book teaches boomers through stories how to change their quality of life in many areas including health and wellness, as well as inspiring those around them.

Book cover design for Tom Matt

Kerri Lian, who is also part of the Boomer generation, had this response to Tom Matt:

You’ve asked perhaps the most difficult question an artist can be asked of their own work . . . do you like it?

My immediate response would be, “Of course, I created it and I wouldn’t give you something I don’t like,” but now I have to not only walk in your shoes but in your potential readers also.

Does the book cover design jump off the shelf?


Does your book cover design capture the essence of a graphic style Boomers would recognize and be drawn to?

Yes. The cover design incorporates the style of Peter Max, an iconic artist of the 1960s. Many Boomers grew up during the 60’s or were greatly influenced by the lifestyle of the 60’s. Peter Max’s artwork was very closely associated with the Beatles (particularly in their album, Yellow Submarine) and having recently heard John Lennon sing, Revolution . . .

You say you want a revolution

Well, you know

We all want to change the world

. . . this is what the ’60s were all about and the artwork and music were a huge part of this era. So choosing Max’s style is my “subliminal messaging” to my generation to remember what drove us so long ago and suggest we’re not done yet.

Does the style honor your brand and the idea of Boomers ROCK?

Yes, I believe it does.

Does the book cover design graphically portray the content of the book?

Absolutely. The color is lively, energizing, powerful, and directs the attention to the Boomers brand logo — an immediately recognizable symbol particularly to our generation but even to today’s generation; the diagonal lines are dynamic and suggest movement toward something; the stars and circles are fun and can suggest many ideas (reaching for the stars, partying/celebrating . . .kind of like confetti). The bold words in this paragraph are concepts the Boomers need to recapture which is what you address in your book.

Normally a circle in the center of an image would be taboo in graphic design because it creates a ‘bulls-eye’ that doesn’t let the viewer’s attention explore the rest of the composition but the open part of the circle ‘points’ to your title and the rays force the attention outward to the rest of the composition, but then return it to focus on the logo again.

Yes, I like it.

Here is Tom’s response to Kerrie’s answer:

Responding to your thoughtful, well written email on my phone is not going to do your message justice, that being said here you go. Your diligence, talent, and thoughtfulness are truly remarkable, for your effort I thank you.

This whole project is the culmination of a story that will change lives, it is also the beginning of a movement, that I am sure of, that will gain grassroots traction and ignite lives.

The “Retirement Zone” is a place that people must choose to enter, and once they do, the QOL will greet them openly. You have created the face of that place, for that many will be indebted to you for grabbing their attention and giving it a chance, in the village there are many, in the collective there are a few, for now, welcome to the collective, and great job.

I love building teams and inspiring and motivating, truly there is no “I” in team.

This first book needed a magical touch, your work did that.

I am glad you like it, great job, now we continue the mission, it is our destiny!