We've all seen those covers--the covers that look like they were designed using Microsoft word. They can come from the authors (who even write incredible books!) and "professional" designers. Maybe you are one of those authors. (I'm totally not trying to make you feel bad, I'm trying to help.) Here are 5 reasons why a quality book cover is as important as quality writing.
One person who took the survey said:
"I've never been able to pick what it is that gives it away, but 82.857% of the time self-published books can be spotted by their covers?"
If a book cover looks self-published:
1. People probably aren't going to take the book seriously.
No matter how much popularity self-publishing has gained in the past few years, many readers still think it's the "easy way out".
2. People probably aren't going to want to market your book because it doesn't look like a "real book".Have you ever read a series that was so good you couldn't shut up about it? I know I have (*cough*Out of Time Series*cough*). Whenever I love a book, I blast my praise for it everywhere. Twitter. Goodreads. Right here. Still using the Out of Time Series as my example, the books look legit. They look like books you could pick up at Barnes and Noble. I don't feel weird about promoting the books because I don't have to put a side note in the promotion that says "trust me, this is actually a fantastic book."
3. People probably aren't going to flail and fangirl over the cover.
Yes, I'm one of those shallow bookworms who will be interested in a book simply because its cover belongs in an art museum.
4. People will probably be hesitant to take a chance on the book.
(Yes, I realize that this point is like point #1, but it's SUPER IMPORTANT and needs reiterating.)
Money is a factor of life, so I probably won't buy a book if it doesn't look good (both visually and conceptually). But, if a book is pretty and doesn't look like the author self-published it, I'm more likely to take a chance on it.
5. Sometimes a great elevator pitch just doesn't cut it.
Sometimes having a fabulous elevator pitch can sell people on a book, but when they look it up on Amazon and see the not-so-great cover, they might not buy the book.
This all comes down to one solution:
If you plan on self-publishing your book, save up some money and invest in a quality cover designer.
If you've already self-published your book, it's not too late to change the cover!
Here are some ways you can find a quality designer:
- Ask other self-published authors (whose covers are professional-looking) who they used.
- Ask small presses what designer they use.
- Find an artist you like.
(As a small side note, I'm taking a few book cover design requests. Shoot me an email at email@example.com if you are interested. For now, the work I do is free as I am self-taught.)
And remember that when you publish a book, you aren't writing for yourself anymore, you're writing for the lovely people who are going to buy it. Think about that same thing as you go through the design process.