Friday, September 30, 2016

Bad Book Cover's = Bad For Sales and even Reviews

*Disclaimer- This is a very long post but there is a lot of good information in it*
So this is not a scheduled writer's corner post, it is one that struck me spur of the moment. All of my readers and wenches know I do reviews and promotions for a myriad of authors and different promotion companies. I do not get paid for this service I provide, I do it for the love of books and for the other readers out there like myself that love to read. I also do it for the writers and aspiring to be published writers like myself. I have even thought about taking it on more full time and starting a small promotion company for a side job.
 One thing that has been bothering me today and the reason for this impromptu post is while looking about on netgalley for my next book to review was the book covers. What a lot of you may not know is that I am also an artist, I even went to school for it for two years before I decided to get my psychology degree. There are an overwhelming amount of bad book covers from the indie section. Not only that, I found 4 books from 4 different writers that had the same bad book cover. Just flames on a black background with red text. This is not me judging those authors because one of them, I know for a fact, write some of the best books I have ever read. However the fact remains and has been proven that cover art SELLS. There have been many mediocre books with high sales, due to the fact they had great cover art. Not only that, but bad covers can also lead to bad review's, or prominent reviewers not accepting the book for review at all.  Don't just take my word for it there is a great article over at Indie Reader and many others all over the web that talk about just this thing. I will post a few of the top points from the article here. If you want to read the whole article click the link above.

With self-publishing settling into the mainstream, fierce competition has upped the ante for indie authors. The finest books boast strong, well-written stories. But to rise to the top, to gain traction with readers, even the best book needs a dynamic cover. Recognizing this, savvy indies invest time and energy into creating striking cover designs. As a result, it’s becoming nearly impossible to differentiate between self- and traditionally published books.

A book’s cover is the first thing a potential reader sees and it can make a lasting impression. “Our brains are wired to process images faster than words,” Coker explains. “When we see an image, it makes us feel something.” A great cover, he says, can “help the reader instantly recognize that this book is for them.
If a great design has gut-level emotional appeal and the power to entice readers, a poorly designed cover can be a real turn-off. A book’s description is the “first and foremost concern” of the blogger and book reviewer known as “The Picky Girl.” Still, she thinks twice before accepting or buying a book with a bad (or cheap looking) cover. “I wonder what other areas lack quality and refinement,” she says.
Like Picky Girl, Naomi Blackburn, one of the world’s top Goodreads reviewers, founder of the group The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book, and author of the business advice column The Author CEO, selects books based primarily on their description. But Blackburn, too, passes on books with bad covers. “If the cover seems to be nothing more than a catalog photograph with block lettering, I bypass it,” she says. “If the author didn’t care enough to dedicate time/effort to their cover, I wonder how much time they put into the book itself.”

 According to Coker, there’s a clear connection between great covers and great sales. “In addition to promising what a book will deliver, the [cover] image also promises (or fails to promise) that the author is a professional, and that the book will honor the reader’s time.

 “When ebook retailers select books for special merchandising features, cover design is paramount,” Coker says. “A great cover combined with great reader reviews is a killer combination.”

 According to Coker, the elements that give a book the greatest visibility on online retail shelves include simplicity, a clear promise, a professional design with layers and smart use of color, readable text, and appropriate targeting: “If you strip away the words, the image needs to make a promise to the reader. It should promise, ‘this is the book you’re looking for to experience [the feeling of first love for contemporary romance; fear for horror; edge of your seat suspense for thrillers; knowledge for a non-fiction how-to; the liberating feeling of financial freedom for a personal finance book; an inspiring story of personal journey for a memoir, etc.]”


So after reading this you may wonder why some indie authors end up with such bad cover designs. The answer is the cost, average price of an ebook cover is $200-$300 and up depending on the cost for the designer, and for paper back and hard backs the cost just go's up. However there are cheaper options like going with some of the lower cost independent designers. Shameless plug here I am an independent cover designer and I work with authors to keep there cost low and with in budget for them. If you can not afford a high priced cover model for your book I can show you options that you can afford and still come out with a great clean and marketable design. Remember the book cover I told you about at the start of the post? I googled the image and found a ton of them, I wont post the covers out of respect for the authors but it looks a lot like this
Not exact but very close, and also not a great design for a book cover. What does this image say to you? Fire, heat, you might could squeeze out passion but that is pushing it? This is not a book cover that sells. You want a clean image that makes you want to read the book or says something about the book, best case both.
Here are a few mock ups I did for a company last year.

Both images are clean and minimal as what was requested by the company.  

So if you are looking to self publish please find a good cover designer that will work with you. It will help your sales and improve your reputation as an author that cares enough about their hard work to package it well. Also if you want a consultation for a cover you can email me at