Here are some informational tidbits she shared during her talk:
- The title should be in the top third of the book cover. Second in importance is the image that will capture readers' eyes. Third in ranking is the author's name. According to Rankovic, the author should be humble and thrilled that their name is on a book, so it should be much smaller than the title. (Unless, of course, you're James-freakin' Patterson or Stephen King. If that's the case, emblazon away in four-inch high lettering.)
- The title should be able to be read from 12 feet away, and because it's the Amazon era, your book cover should still be distinct and recognizable when it's shrunk to thumbnail-size. Script typefaces should not be used in the title, and serif typefaces (as opposed to sans serif) increase the readability. (I didn't know those little "tails" on letters made the text easier to read. Did you?)
- There are colors to avoid when considering a background color for the cover: purple, gray, blue-green, babypoop yellow, along with any other color that is the same hue as a bodily fluid. (And for years I've been dreaming of my book cover being the color of bile! Maybe she's wrong...)
- Leave your face off the cover. Leave yours and your relatives' artwork off the cover. Leave any ambiguous image off the cover. If a prospective reader has to study the cover to figure out what the image is (What is that?), that tends to turn people off.
- Effective cover designs make clear what the book is about and stirs up feelings.
Here are some covers I think work, based on what Rankovic said on Saturday: