I was just reading a blog where a lady said she was ashamed to admit she tends to ignore books with amateurish covers even though she suspects some of the stories inside those covers might be pretty good.
As a book cover designer I can tell you no one should feel guilty about judging a book by its cover.
Because humans are, by nature, extremely sensitive to first impressions. The corporate world has known this for a long time. That’s why they spend tens of millions of dollars every year on market surveys and research to determine the effectiveness of their product packaging.
Two important things for authors to remember:
1. A potential reader’s first impression of your book is the cover.
There is an entire psychology built around the concept of “first impressions” that should be understood by anyone whose product (a book, in this case) is just one among many in competition for the public’s attention.
2. Think of the cover of your book in terms of “product packaging” in the same way that manufacturers regard the packaging of their products. The cover of your book is the “packaging”, the “box” (metaphorically speaking) that contains the “product”. The product is the story inside the “box”.
More often than not, a potential buyer’s assumption about the quality of the product is determined by their perception of the quality of the packaging.
Research has shown that people tend to make purchasing decisions within a matter of just a few seconds based on their perception of the product (that “first impression”) which is influenced by the packaging.
It’s pretty simple really. You’re at the store. You see two products from two different manufacturers, side by side, and both products are exactly the same and so are the prices. But one is packaged very attractively with a polished, professional look and the other packaging is rather generic and boring. Which one are you likely to purchase?