For me it boils down to four elements:
TITLE: In YA, one word titles are especially potent, but I’ve read that titles should be no longer than 4 words, or you start losing readers. If the title is set on fire by the background images, you’ve got gold.
THE ART: A professionally designed cover says, “I’ve got class, and what’s inside was professionally edited and has class too.” I think we can’t measure how powerfully this is believed on a subconscious level. I’ve heard it said (and I believe it,) that the cover should communicate the genre or mood by way of color scheme, and the images on the cover should help us interpret the age group the book is intended for.
THE HUMAN TOUCH: It’s proven that people are drawn to images of people. (Imagine that.) I’m no exception and it’s my personal opinion that portraying some kind of human element–a hand, a face, a body–adds a level of connection with readers.
You can get into all kinds of other elements like motion, topography, focal point, and a dozen others, but I think the key is just to get someone interested enough to crack open the book. You can NEVER undo a first impression, so it has to count.
How about you? What aspects of a cover really draw you to a book?
Her second novel, SOULLESS (book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy), hits the worldOctober 13, 2014!
Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she’s forced to unleash her true power.