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Covers - which such be more prominent, title or pic?

971 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Jan Hurst-Nicholson
When an author becomes a 'brand' then their name is the most prominent feature on the cover. But until that happens, which should the reader see first - the title or the pic?  :-\

I'm trying to decide on the cover for a book of short stories that are very diverse.
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It depends on the genre.

Romance: Author name
Thriller:  Toss up
YA: Picture

For the rest?  I don't know.  Go to Amazon and see what the best sellers are doing.
ellecasey said:
It depends on the genre.
Go to Amazon and see what the best sellers are doing.
I did have a look and there was a mix. But then I started glancing down the covers to see which books stood out to me, and it tended to be the bold titles. I just wondered how others felt.
Unless it's a favorite author of mine, I say picture because it tells me more about the subject matter.
One thing I tend to do is shrink our covers to the size people see when searching Amazon (I believe it is 160 pixels max per side) and see how it looks. I feel the title (and author, if there's any chance of name recognition at all) should be readable at that size. Other than that, I don't see a need for super-duper large text.
If you have a great cover pic, then let it be seen. We definitely find that a kick-ass book cover is a great way to catch a reader's eye. If they like the cover, they're more likely to check out the book content. We've seen this happen time and again with my book Weapon of Flesh (see cover below in signature); at the conventions we do, people actually do double-takes when they see the poster of the book cover, come over to the table to comment on the art work, pick up the book to read the back, and many times end up buying the book. And when people are perusing a column of book covers, especially small format, I think a picture is more apt to capture the eye than a title. I find it's like a bottle of wine; I'm drawn to a quirky label, and I'm more likely to try it out.
glutton said:
Unless it's a favorite author of mine, I say picture because it tells me more about the subject matter.
The problem is that the subject matter is very mixed varying from humour to murder, historical, sentimental, ghost, twist-in-the-tale, so the pic won't tell you about the stories. That's why I thought the title should perhaps be the main feature :-\.
Honestly, the first thing I notice about a cover is the title.  Then again, i'm usually looking around at specific genres.  But, if you say that the image on the cover won't necessarily be able to tell the viewer what the story is about, then maybe focusing on a title that stands out would be best.  It doesn't necessarily need to be super large.  Instead, you should make sure it doesn't blend in with the image in both color and structure.

Good luck!
I would say it depends on the title.

If you have a book titled "The Tiger," you should probably focus on the picture since the title alone doesn't have enough weight to interest someone.

On the other hand, if your book was titled "Teaching Genghis Khan to Macramé," then it's a good idea to showcase the title, because I'd buy that book.
It really depends on the cover design. ;)

Some cover images ARE the title:

While others have such arresting images they basically cancel out the title:

Most covers, of course, have a more balanced composition between the image and title. But one will always have more prominence than the other.

If you can't settle on a single image that captures the theme, tone, or mood of the stories, then go with a typography cover. Even average titles can look interesting with the right font treatment.

Hope that helps!

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My personal philosophy is that it depends on the title and/or the image. If you look at theThistle and Flame cover in my siggy, it's one of the biggest titles I've gone with, and I did it because I could--the image itself was simple, and the font I chose didn't interfere with it. So basically, start with a tentative cover image, see what you can work around. I'd make the title as big and as readable as you can, without taking away from the picture. Sometimes you will need to make the title as small as you can (while still being highly readable in thumbnail) in order to show enough of the cool picture. Just depends.

Personally, I'm bored by covers that are all words or boring/obscured pictures, but that's just me. I skim down a search results list, and stop at the first cover that catches my eye (by being well-done, by being related to a genre I like, and by the title catching my interest). The title needs to at least be big enough to read the title in a fraction of a second, the pic needs to catch my attention and be "understood" in a fraction of a second, and the author name needs to be readable at a second glance at least.

This is all just my opinion, based on my own preferences and habits. :)
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Yeah, dull title? -> amazing image. Knockout title? -> subdued image.
NatashaHolme said:
Yeah, dull title? -> amazing image. Knockout title? -> subdued image.
Summed up nicely :D
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