Book Covers, Are They Important?

Book covers sell your book for youBook covers are vital to your book marketing strategy, because the quality of your cover can mean the difference between little or no sales and thousands of sales.

Believe it.  R.L. Mathewson, a self-published romance author, was selling a few copies a day of her novel. She wasn’t happy so she updated her book cover. Sales jumped to over 1,000 sales a day.  Readers do judge your book by its cover. The plot, the story, and your writing could be worthy of a bestselling sales ranking. But if your cover is mediocre, that’s the level your book will rank and sell at no matter if it’s fiction or non-fiction.

Want your book to sell? Begin by creating a great cover!

When self-publishing became the new paradigm in the industry, at first credibility was a huge issue. Books were sub-par with many blaring issues with everything from grammar, spelling, typos, poor writing, and book covers that looked like a kindergartner had scribbled them. Thankfully times have changed so much that the Big Five traditional publishers have joined in the e-book business model. And there’s a reason for that.

A Bad Cover Versus a Good One

When I first began my writing and sub-publishing career, I didn’t grasp the importance of having a good book cover. As with many beginning authors, it seemed to me the contents of the book were far more important than the cover. I’ve got good graphics skills with both Adobe Photoshop and Coral Paint Shop Pro, so I thought I’d make some great covers.

Ah, I was so naive. I shudder when I look at my first covers. How did I ever think they were good?

The problem was that I’ve never been trained as a graphics designer or a book cover designer. So while I could use Adobe Photoshop to create covers, I didn’t know the rules for making them look not just acceptable or good. Book covers need to be fantastic in order to compete.

What makes for a good cover?

  • The right fonts for the genre and niche.
  • Correctly sized fonts for each of the text elements on the cover.
  • A good image (or images) which communicates the contents without looking cluttered.
  • Proper spacing between elements.
  • The right information on the cover.
  • Correct colors to help communicate the theme and match with your series, if any.
  • Plus a host of other attributes.

On the other hand, a bad cover:

  • Uses fonts that are strange, gaudy or incorrect for the genre.
  • Are not sized correctly, making them difficult to read. Most often, this means the title cannot be easily read when the cover is a thumbnail.
  • Too much text on the cover.
  • Too little text.
  • Elements spaced in such a way as to make the cover look “strange” or unbalanced.
  • Missing or incorrect information.
  • Poor choice of colors, shading and gradients.

As you can tell, creating a great book cover is not just a matter of slapping some text and images together. It’s an exact science of understanding what looks good and what makes people want to look further into the book and even make a purchase.

Types of Book Covers

A great strategy for self-published authors is to publish your book in as many different formats as possible. Since all formats appears on the same Amazon book page, you’ll find yourself making more money if you give your readers a choice. Some people like audiobooks, others eBooks (Kindle) and still others enjoy a good paperback or even hardcover.

You’ll need a different cover for each format.

  • Kindle – This is just a front cover.
  • Paperback – This is a front, spine and back cover. You can optionally use a PDF or Adobe Indesign template to format your cover.
  • Hardcover – This is also a front, spine and back. It is formatted using a PDF file, and is different than the one for paperback.
  • Audiobook – This is a square, front cover graphic.

When I hire an artist to create my cover, I get all four of them at the same time so I only have to go back to them once.

Making Your Own Book Covers

If you are short of money, you can make your own covers, even if you are not a graphics designer. There are many premade packages of cover templates available which you can update with your own information. Click on the links below to see a few examples of ebook creation software and packages.

Most of these packages and products will work great for Kindle book covers (plus Nook, iBook and other eBook formats). However, to create the paperback, hardcover and audiobook versions, you’ll need to make adjustments.

You’ll need a product such as Adobe Photoshop or GIMP (free) to do the editing.

Professional Book Covers

Professional book cover designers are the way to go if you’ve got the budget. Since the cover is literally the most important component of your marketing plan, the wisest course of action is to make sure you get the best cover you can. Spend the money, find the right designer, and you’ll make more sales.

You and Your Book Cover Designer

Having a stunning book cover can be as easy as expressing to the designer what you have in mind. It is then up to the graphic artist to produce an eye-pleasing cover that will draw in your readers showing them your story promises to be a great read.  An outstanding book cover can also interest retail merchandise managers, which can mean a godsend for sales. Combine an attention-keeping story with a cover that motivates buyers and you have a recipe for huge success. These dynamics also mean significant reviews, which pushes up your Amazon ranking and even higher sales.

The Writing King has years of experience in graphic design. He also understands the importance of a cover that will drive sales because he has personally written over 30 self-published books including bestsellers!