5.15.2017

Why Great Book Covers are as Important as Quality Writing

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a survey.  Many people said they enjoyed my posts on cover design, so here's another one.  (The last one for a while, I promise.)


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.

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.

Have you ever passed up buying a book because of the cover?  Who are some of your favorite cover designers (any recommendations)?

21 comments:

  1. I totally agree! I try to not judge books by their covers but I do it so often without realizing :(

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    1. I do too. It's an unfortunate thing that we all do. :(

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  2. YES THIS IS SO TRUUUUE. It's always annoyed me when a great book has a /horrifying/ cover. (especially a self published one) Although recently I've been seeing a lot of self-published books with REALLY GREAT covers (aka The Girl Who Could See and Martin Hospitality, so not really "a lot" BUT SHH LET'S PRETEND LIKE 2 IS A LOT).

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    1. Yes, it is quite annoying. Oh my goodness, those covers are incredible! I love them so much and need copies of the books ASAP. :D

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  3. I LOVES ZIS POST. :D THANK YOU SO MUCH, ALEA. <3

    Some of my favourite cover designers are Anne Elisabeth Stengl (I think she only does covers for friends and special projects, though), Kirk DePounce (I'm not sure how much he charges, seeing as he works for larger companies such Enclave Publishing), Julia Busko (juliabusko.com/portfolio/book-covers), and Julia Popova (forestgirl.ru). And, of course, your covers! I'm seriously IN LOVE with your cover for The Princess & I!

    One more thing: I'm not close enough to publication to seek a cover designer yet, but how much do you plan to charge once your services go up, again? 'Cause your covers are seriously AMAZING.

    ~Liv
    livkfisher.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh yes, Kirk is AMAZING! At Realm Makers last year I had the chance to meet him and take his class. It was incredible and I may have fangirled just a bit. :)

      Here's a little secret...you can request a cover pretty much any time. :)

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    2. Wait. Kirk teaches a class?!?!? Do you know if he teaches anywhere else besides Realm Makers???? I absolutely MUST take his class!!! I want to attend Realm Makers too, but its kinda far for me :'(

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  4. Yessssss. Thank you for saying it, Alea. I am definitely quick to judge a book by its cover, and sometimes I definitely DON'T promote some books if the cover is poorly done. #fulldisclosure

    And also, extra points for mentioning The Out of Time series!

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    1. I do the same. (The Out of Time series needs alllllll the promotion.)

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  5. I admit to being turned off by a few bad covers. Including one where I know the author and know a fair bit about the story. (there's also books with perfectly good covers and a good repution that I ignore)
    But there are others I'll forgive and still promote because I'm so excited by them.
    But I agree. Covers are important in showing both quality and genre.

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    1. I've definitely done the same thing.

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  6. omw i just ranted to my mom about this the other day and can i say amen girl like cheesy book covers are sUCH a turnoff

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    1. Hehe. Yeah, it does get frustrating.

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  7. Great post! I totally pay attention to a book because of the cover (its the reason I pick it up), so it has to be good. Oddly, the many great books have really bad covers (so I guess its not The only reason I pick up a book, but the cover does get my attention and makes me want to find out more).

    DogEared Design's is one of my Favorite cover designers!!!

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    1. I totally agree with you. Yes, he is amazing!

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  8. This is so true! Almost every time I pick up a book, it's because I was drawn to the cover. And I'm definitely not the only one. So yeah, I think book covers play a really big part in selling your book. (The Out of Time series is a really good example by the way. :) I haven't read them yet, but I really want to.)

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    1. I can't tell you how many times I've read a book because it had a pretty/intriguing cover.

      Oh, you MUST read the Out of Time Series!

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  9. "One person who took the survey..." xD I am 82.857% flattered and the other 17.143% laughing because I did not expect to be quoted and if I'd thought about it I might have phrased my answers a little more professionally??

    But this post is JUST what I was talking about!! <3 Please, authors, I don't want to skip your amazing novel because the cover looks like a Microsoft Office creation! GET ALEA TO MAKE A COVER HERS ARE AMAZING.

    Jem Jones

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    1. That was you? Haha. :) I just thought it got the point across 100% perfectly.

      Yes, PLEASE design good covers! Aww...Jem, you're so sweet!

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  10. Hi there!!
    I've just found your blog!!
    Ohh my I absolutely love it!! Your posts are amazing! I'll definitely stick around <3
    I'm new on the blogging world, in case you'd like to check my blog out. If not, that's alright. I'll still be reading your gorgeous posts!! <3
    xoxo

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    1. I'm so glad you like my posts, Arya!

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