I have a dear friend who is an artist and owns an art gallery. For years, she has provided art instruction to artists seeking to improve their skills. Here is what she tells her students:
“I always tell my artists that composition is king. If pieces don’t hold together and look good in a thumbnail size, where you can see the composition at a glance, the art won’t work in person or up close.”
Consider: The cover of your book is a work of art. It too must hold up to the rule of looking good in thumbnail size.
For years, I have told authors that the title printed on the cover of their book needs to be easily read from across the room. Now, with more and more books being purchased online, it is also important that your book cover also look good in a thumbnail size.
I have found that most books whose titles can easily be read from across the room generally also look good in the thumbnail size.
I recently went round and round on this issue with the cover designer for the third edition of my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace (releasing next month). She was not sending me designs where the title was easily read from a distance or in a thumbnail sketch.
Now, I know that the title of this book is long, and thus the task before the designer was not an easy one. I told her that not every word needed to stand out since the title was so long. I just need the important words to stand out.
Finally, after going back and forth a number of times, and beginning to think we were never going to get there, I finally have a design that is legible from a distance and in a thumbnail size.
I urge you to follow this simple rule of thumb for your next book cover. Make sure the title is legible from across a room and also in a thumbnail size.