In this book marketing podcast episode, we discuss the perils of bad covers, how to potentially fix them and how to find a cover designer that won’t cost you a fortune before you launch your book.
Last November, Written Word Media did a survey and found that only 53% of indie authors work with a professional designer, which is kind of scary to me.
To make matters worse, when you hear roughly 50% of authors are using a professional designer, you’d like to think that means 50% of book covers are exceptional – and that’s not the case at all. Honestly, I’ve seen pre-made covers that are much more appealing from a design perspective, than some professional covers so what really matters is understanding what actually makes a great cover.
How to Tell If Your Cover is Bad
Things that stand out immediately is a poor font style choice, which can be the wrong font size or balance issues. Stock graphics that are just layered on stock photos without careful attention to scale. Another one we see a lot are illustrations, those are always tricky. While I really resent authors who think they can get away with amateur drawings for children’s books or even young adult books, it’s an absolute deal breaker for adult titles. So be warned!
We recently did a minisode on the dangers of “good enough” so if you’re listening and you’ve uttered those words or something similar about your work – then I would say you need to consult with someone to assist you in your genre appropriate book cover education. You can’t wing this. There are right and wrong things to do with covers, it’s really not all that subjective because “good enough” doesn’t cut it for book covers.
How to Find a Cover Person
First, it’s crucially important to really deep dive into your genre in terms of what the norm is. If you really spend some time in your genre, you’ll start to see trends and this is important, because you really need at least a little bit of an education before you jump headlong into your cover design, and especially before you launch a book.
Book cover design requires knowledge of the industry and oftentimes a working knowledge of specific genres and reader markets. I feel like the best way to find a cover person is to already know what readers in your genre like and don’t like – so for example spending some time on Amazon, or in a bookstore and really looking at other, similar covers in your market is important and will often help guide you on your choices.
New episodes of our book marketing podcast go live every-other Friday! You can stream full episodes from our website, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Plus, you’ll want to follow us on your preferred podcast platform in order to catch our helpful- and often hilarious- minisodes.
Do you have any suggestions for a future book marketing podcast episode? I would love to hear from you down in the comment section!
Resources and Free Downloads
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How to Turn Readers into Superfans: Book Marketing Podcast Episode
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I’ve come full circle in my writing career (self-publishing to traditional and back, and POD to ebooks to print and back to ebooks) and have homed in on the most efficient method: D2D (going wide is good, and their software is excellent) and ready-made (and unique!) covers. For the latter, I’ve managed to find a cover that correlates well with a scene in the book (sometimes a quick mode by the cover artist is required). The only thing more efficient for me is to offer free PDF downloads at my website (two complete “Esther Brookstone” novels are offered now). (I’ve also added to my mental health by boycotting Amazon; you people at AME do just the opposite!)