There’s a lot of research evidence out there to support the notion that more than 75% of book sales are earned by the quality of their covers. It’s easy to understand that a strong title and graphics will grab a buyer’s attention – and in a marketplace with more than a zillion titles floating around, an author needs all the edge he or she can get.


Let’s face it, there are some real turkeys out there and no matter what lies between the covers it’s unlikely these books will ever get more than the briefest of glances before a potential reader’s eye roams quickly to the next in line.


So how do authors give themselves a fighting chance of getting noticed? It’s simple – get a cover that makes people pause when they scan the bookshelves or run through the endless pages of listings on the Amazon website. SEE MORE AT:

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I judged a book by it's cover once and it was one of my only recent leisure reading purchases. 

I suppose this is something that's most worrisome for self-published authors. I've heard that many who go the traditional route don't even have much say over the cover, let alone have to design it much. 

But I agree, it's important to have a catchy cover. The problem, I imagine, is finding usable images and formatting the cover to look professional. It's hard to really catch attention with just a cover.

I agree Jonathan. I've started this so that new authors will not have to work too much in the dark.

As a new author, I'm appreciative. Thanks. :) Hopefully I can learn something even if I do get accepted by an agent.

I've had good covers from publishers as well as bad ones.  One publisher, who had given me excellent covers for 3 or 4 titles, suddenly switched to a new style, and it was awful.  Since I write novels set in 11th c. Japan, I dislike covers that are hundreds of years out of date for the characters they depict.  But in any case, authors do not have much to say about cover design.

Nowadays I do my own because I know what I want and like and enjoy the work.  The work is very time-consuming, though.


The thing to remember is that you have to establish a brand, especially when writing a series.  And your name needs to be large.  And if you're designing for Kindle etc., your cover must show up and be legible in a thumb nail size. 

I do not subscribe to Konrath's insistence that the design be gimmicky.  There are too many gimmicky covers out there already, and they all look alike in the end.

He posted about animated covers recently, saying they will be the next big thing. I disagree. They look like banner ads. People are conditioned to ignore them.

A good cover - or even one that isn't horrible - can make a big difference. With so much dreck out there, the prejudice is more than justified.

I like the cover on my newest a lot--they did a great job. It's eye-catching and it's identifiably Provincetown, MA, where the series is set. The first two were just okay--not what I'd call "read me" covers. I think the problem, when there is one, is that cover designers are often promoting themselves as much as your book--so it's about what looks good in their portfolios vs what's really going to catch a reader's eye.

Agreed, boss.

I have never bought a book because of its cover. I have also passed on books because of their covers, if they turned me off enough I didn't bother to open them.


I totally agree and I have a perfect example.

Several months ago, my mother and I went to a book fair. She went with me mostly to keep me company because she's not much of a reader. We walked up to a booth and, to my surprise, my mom immediately picked up a book. "Oh,' she said, "this looks great. I'll bet this one is good." She was right; the cover was spectacular. It had caught the eye of a non-reader right away. I ended up buying the book.

But . . . don't you want to catch the eye of readers?  Most don't care that much.  They look for the author's name.  Or maybe they read the back cover to see what the book is about.

My feeling is a good cover doesn't help much, but a bad cover hurts a lot.

Yep, but I also judge the blurb on the back. I look at the cover and read the blurb on the back. If the blurb doesn't catch my interest and the cover is average, I put it back on the shelf. If the blurb is good and I know the author, I may purchase it.


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