How to Choose The Perfect Book Cover

By on March 29, 2016

We are sure you have heard the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ and of course when applied to almost anything else it is rather good advice.

The simple truth, however, is that when it comes to book covers we are rather superficial creatures and research indicates that when we choose books to buy, a large part of what influences us is the cover of the book itself.

Really this is no surprise. Bookstores have a huge range of choice, and, unlike many other shops, customers will enter with no fixed idea of what they want to buy.

The browsing customer is likely to pick up several books before deciding on one to read, and may discard or dismiss books based on a glance at the cover alone.

Even when online book shopping our behaviour suggests that the book cover makes a huge difference when it comes to our buying decisions.

Amazon, for example, has almost every book under the sun, the endless rows and columns mean that if you are in browsing mode a cover needs to stand out in order for you to bother clicking through.

In short, covers matter.

And while of course, we are not denying that there are plenty of other factors that can make your reach for a book from the bookshelf of a shop, or click ‘add to basket' online, ultimately at some point the cover will have had an effect, and the opinion that you have of any particular book cover will have led to you either deciding to buy it, or not.

A great book cover sends signals to the reader. Not only is it eye-catching (for all the right reasons) it also reinforces what the book is about, and if it conveys a message of quality, readers will expect to pay more for it.

If a book has a low quality, homemade or generic looking cover it can raise questions about the quality of the book, and therefore whether it will actually be a good read.

The cover of a book can also assure the reader if they are expecting the contents of the book to be about a certain thing or particular genre.

For example, if they are looking for a good horror story and the book cover is dark and foreboding, this will reaffirm their expectations of the book and therefore, will seem like a ‘safe’ purchase. A book cover that doesn’t ‘fit’ within its genre could again make the reader feel uncomfortable and unsure if this is the right purchase for them.

A book cover that doesn’t ‘fit’ within its genre could again make the reader feel uncomfortable and unsure if this is the right purchase for them.

Look at detective fiction novels, for example, you can spot them easily in a book store. They are usually full of dark colours, and large bold capitalised font for the title and the author name. If you wrote a detective fiction novel and chose a cover that went against this, it might get overlooked by fans of the genre, or confuse those that did pick it up. While it is natural to want your book cover to be unique, it is not so much about being a copycat, but helping your reader quickly and easily understand what your book is about.

While it is natural to want your book cover to be unique, it is not so much about being a copycat, but helping your reader quickly and easily understand what your book is about, while also making it stand out from the crowd.

Of course, having a fantastic book cover can’t guarantee that your book will sell well.

Having an excellent marketing strategy and putting the effort into pushing your book, for example, getting coverage and building up a fan base are all equally important.

However, your book cover is still going to be the first thing that your readers see so giving it some thought and investing in a great design will only help to increase your sales!

About Ty Cohen

One Comment

  1. Tom Justin

    April 7, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    The analogy of this article would be to write one about living. Here’s the synopsis:

    You need air to live. If you don’t have air, you won’t live long. Of course, once you have air, you’ll need food too. Of course, it has to be edible, if it’s not, you could die, even if you have air.

    Only take 400-600 words to say it without any graphics.

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