Cover Wars

Cover wars: All about promising to meet a reader’s needs.

Cover contests and the growing number of cover designers competing for an author’s business are sure signs of the ever-increasing importance of cover art. With so many fiction books available to readers, can you guarantee your book stands out from the rest?

Yes! A novel’s success can be partially attributed to how well the cover images capture PRIMAL DESIRES.

Abraham Maslow, PhD in Psychology, first described primal desires in his Hierarchy of Needs (read more here). Summarized, the hierarchy begins with a human’s most basic needs: physiological, followed by safety and security, love and belonging, and, lastly, esteem.

In an attempt to capture a book’s contents by way of cover design, consider incorporating what Dollars and Sense: The Definitive Guide to Self-Publishing Success describes as the primal motivation that aids survival: fear, fight, fornication, and food.

Or the Hierarchy of Needs restated as the 4Fs: Fear, Fight, Fornication, and Food.

The next time you pick up a book or an e-book catches your eye, scrutinize the cover. Are primal motivation techniques incorporated? Are colors like black, red, and white used? Also, think classic symbolism: forbidden fruit, torn ribbons (loss of innocence), and pawns (manipulation). Do books within a series include cohesiveness? They should.

Cover wars are here to stay. It’s how cover artists temp the reader to venture deeper: title, blurb, first page.  Purchase. Cover art embodies the hidden message: Read this book and your needs will be met. If you indie publish, consider incorporating the Hierarchy of Needs into your cover design so you emerge with a winning cover.

Happy Reading!

Cyndi Faria

3 thoughts on “Cover Wars

  1. I’m a mega-romance reader. And, I swear, one of the few who liked clinch covers. Never thought deeply about it before, but they play into fear. The h/h are holding on to each other for dear life, not wanting to lose the other.

  2. There is no doubt I’m attracted to books because of the cover. I’ve often wondered why I sometimes chose a book when the synopsis doesn’t quite sound like something I want to read while other times I pass up a book that sounds like it would be really good but the cover is bland or somehow ‘off’ and I pass it up. It would be great to learn that winning combination for a cover. 🙂

    • Doug, I do the exact same thing: pass on a book purely because of the cover even if the blurb sounds interesting. Maybe, my reaction to the incongruence is like a reaction to a lie. Thank you for leaving a comment! Cyndi

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