The old saying, ‘never judge a book by its cover’, is a good philosophy for day to day living, especially in the realms of human relationships.
This is true for books also, to an extent. A dismal cover could be hiding a work of art. But in today’s hyper-media world images count first and foremost.
Some book sales come from word of mouth recommendations or reviews of books online. Some readers will search out their favourite authors. But most come from people who are casually browsing, whether in a bricks and mortar book shop or via internet shopping.
How many books are out there, written by contemporary writers? It must be hundred of thousands, probably many more.
Your book’s first introduction to the world is its cover, if it is second rate it will be overlooked. Sure, a good adjoining ‘blurb’ is important, but the image comes first. Bear in mind that the first image most people will see is a thumbnail image an Amazon, or which ever retailer you have chosen. That means keep it bold, high impact and relatively simple; the mind needs to be able to connect with the image immediately. If it takes more than a few microseconds to form any idea of what the picture stands for it is likely to move onto the next book.
I will be spending the next six months mulling over a cover design for my first novel while editing, playing with images and ideas. It is so important it justifies a considerable part of the commitment to the book in terms of time and effort.