It sounds terrible, right? We’ve all heard the cliché, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” But for better or worse, in terms of book sales all the market research suggests that buyers very much judge the books they buy based on their covers.
This was another big takeaway for me from the San Francisco Writer’s Conference, and one that has continued to change a lot in the past few years. When I first started attending the conference, most editors and agents said they could recognize a self-published book a mile away, mainly from its poorly constructed cover art. Today, it’s a whole different ballgame. More and more self-published authors are employing professionals to produce their cover art and it’s making a dramatic impact on their book sales. The writing itself is of course what will ultimately make the reader a fan or not, but enticing cover art is what hooks them in the first place to pickup a paperback or click on an ebook.
It’s also a key element when a writer establishes their brand. Think about it. Even if you couldn’t read, you’ve been to the bookstore enough times to recognize the cover of a romance novel versus a sci fi book. You can also tell oftentimes whether a series of books is by a given author because of how they brand their novels with a specific look. So what are some really great examples of cover art that you love? Do you have a specific style you like to see on book covers or any that you can’t stand?