Is your book cover a good sales tool for your book marketing plan? Are you sure? When it comes to how to market your book, potential readers absolutely judge a book by its cover.
Covers are your product packaging; it can single-handedly draw people in or turn people off. Imagine your book in Target – would someone cross aisles to check it out, or would they walk by without noticing?
First, covers are either bad, okay, or really good regardless of genre or topic. Not sure if your book cover really fits in? Check out the top bestsellers in your genre and see how your cover compares with theirs. Your cover design should communicate your genre or topic clearly.
As a test, imagine a nonsense title on it. Does your cover still fit the vibe of the other covers on the bestseller lists for your genre or topic? It should.
If you write fiction and plan to write a series, or plan to keep writing in the same genre, consider how certain elements could be used across covers to build your brand. Maybe it’s just using the same font size and style for your title and author name. This easily stands out later.
If you write non-fiction, be very careful with your subtitle. Is it powerful enough for the cover? Could it possibly restrict your marketing later? These are important decisions to make. Consider hiring someone to give you impartial advice.
But what if you’re reading this and you’re just not sure if your cover needs a makeover (or an entire replacement)? Let’s look at how to market your book and if your book cover is attracting or repelling readers!
Your Cover Does Not Match the Genre
If you’ve taken some time to review other, similar books in your genre and your cover feels “off,” that could be because the cover doesn’t quite match reader expectations of the genre. Different genres have different reader expectations. Business books, for example, tend to have big, bold covers. Memoires often feel softer.
If your book is genre fiction, I recommend doing some super specific research with your subgenre. For example, Christian romance covers look very different from general romance. And it gets even more granular than that.
A shirtless male on the cover, for example means there’s likely a high spice factor. The general rule of thumb is the more shirt the man is wearing, the less spicy or erotic the romance is.
How to Market Your Book with Reader Reviews
Surprisingly, reader reviews often reveal a lot. And it’s common for a reader to leave a review stating they had other expectations for the book based solely on the cover. Often this is because authors create their Amazon book page (and their book cover) based on a genre they think they’re in. However, the elements of the book, the book cover, and the description led readers to other expectations.
This is why I write a lot about finding your “lane,” as in ensuring you’re in the absolute correct genre. Make finding your exact spot in the market part of your book marketing plan.
Your Cover is Outdated
Maybe the only issue with your book is that the cover is starting to look a bit dated. Book cover trends evolve in almost every genre. So if your book has been out for a while, maybe it’s time to freshen it up a bit.
Your Cover is a Hand-Drawing
There are only a few genres where hand-drawings or sketches actually work. It’s mostly in younger markets – but even then, you have to be careful. Professionally done illustrations are different but again, make sure that illustrations fit in your genre.
I know that authors love using illustrations on their cover. Often a talented close friend or family member wants to contribute a cover, but the wrong illustration or hand-drawn image on the cover can deter rather than attract readers.
Your Cover is Difficult to Read in Thumbnail
When was the last time you looked at your book on your mobile phone? If you haven’t, maybe you should. Lots of readers find books that way, and if your cover has too much detail or a scrolly font (which I never recommend), it can be hard to see clearly on smaller screens.
Often, we’re too close to our books and book covers, and that’s understandable. But if your book is stagnate or has never sold particularly well, the cover is one of the first things I’d consider.
If you have no access to your book – let’s say you published via a publisher or hybrid publisher – then maybe it’s time to consider a republish or a second edition of the book, if possible. Most of the providers out there, such as IngramSpark and the like, will all allow you to upload a new cover. It’s pretty easy to make part of your book marketing plan, actually.
One more final point: If you’re updating how to market your book and revamping your book cover, consider polishing your book description on Amazon, too!