Book Covers Don't Matter - 4 Fantastic Tips About Book Marketing - #indieauthor

Book Covers Don't Matter and They Don't Help Sales!

From the title of this blog post, you'll assume that it's the story within the novel that really counts and not the book cover. But that kind of thinking might hinder your sales. Now let me explain why...

For example, could anyone identify just by glancing at the cover posted above what genre the story is, or even what the book is about? 

You might think it's a mystery because of the blue eyeball or maybe romance, but it's really hard to tell what that story would be about. Plus, it is ugly! LOL

Well, I guess you could say it's about an airline pilot who loves his cat. And that would be a good guess, but it still doesn't reflect any specific genre.

If your book cover doesn't match the current trends in the genre that you're writing, then there's a good chance that the story won't reach your intended audience. If the book cover isn’t genre specific enough, you won't sell as many books.

For example, in the cover featured above, what do you think this book would be about? What is the genre? 

On this mockup cover featured above, there are so many things wrong with it that it's hard to know where to start! The fonts are generic and don't match. The author name is too small and the lettering is spaced too closely together. And there are too many different images that don't blend together, or make any sense. It makes the design look cluttered and unprofessional. 

In other words, it is NOT "genre specific" enough to reach it's intended audience.

To attract the right readership, a design must be "genre specific." A cover should give readers an instant idea of the genre and a hint about what the story entails. 

I understand how difficult it can be to promote your novel(s) and generate sales, and sometimes a writer can’t afford a cover designer. Or it just isn’t high on a writer’s list of priorities. Or maybe they thought the book cover doesn't matter that much and a cover won't help with sales. However, I think the biggest issue is that as writers (and I made this mistake, too!), we get designs that are pleasing to us or what we'd like the cover to look like without doing our homework first. By homework, I mean researching book cover trends and bestsellers in the genre that we write in.

A cover is usually what first attracts the reader and lures them in. A book cover is the first impression that most readers have. It is like bait on a hook that captures the reader's attention and gets them curious enough to want to find out more. 

A good cover is part of a writer's marketing arsenal and it had better do a damn good job!

Potential readers are searching for novels that have these 5 elements:
Cover has a familiar / similar look as other books in the genre
Has characters with intriguing problems 
Reminds them of other books they've read and enjoyed
Has an interesting concept or blurb 
A mood or image that instantly snags the readers attention

Having a DYI cover (if you don't know anything about designing a book cover) or an amateurish looking design will kill your book sales faster than anything else, no matter how awesome and compelling and unique the writing is. The simple truth in marketing is if the book cover doesn't reflect the genre, then YOU ARE NOT GOING TO SELL AS MANY BOOKS.

A few of you will argue that some really plain or unattractive covers are on bestselling books. However, you can't compare your work to a bestseller until you've reached that status. Those authors obviously have a huge readership or niche market or some type of branding already. I bet those authors already have millions of readers who will buy anything they write, and the cover isn't that important. 

But if you're just starting out in publishing, or you have lots of books published and your sales are just not taking off as you'd hoped, I suggest testing out a new cover that is "genre specific," then revising your blurb(s), and making sure that your first chapter has a strong enough hook to reel readers into the story. Once you have all three of these key elements, you will start selling more books.

When you're just starting out, or if you write in a heavily saturated genre, don't hurt your chances of building a strong readership and gaining fans by using a cover that is not "genre specific."

A writer works hard on the "inside" of a book, so they should ensure that the "outside" is just as awesome and represents the genre.

H. M. Ward is a New York Times bestselling indie author, with millions of books sold. Quote by Ms. Ward: “COVERS ARE STOP SIGNS. They should quickly reveal as much info about your book to the reader as possible and this did not. As soon as I changed the covers to the current version, sales shot up … Short version: I was really stupid. Don’t wait nine months to change covers or descriptions on books that aren’t preforming.”

Personally, I also made a lot of mistakes in cover art when I was first starting out in the indie publishing world, so please take this advice to heart! 

Even though I told the designers that I hired exactly what I wanted (big mistake!) for a book cover, I didn't bother checking to see what other covers in my genre resembled or study the market. I just told them to create something I thought was cool, which was really dumb...

Although, I still like my previous covers, I now realize that the fonts weren't right for the genre, nor the background images, or color schemes.  So, I studied the market (checked out my competition) and took a long hard look at what covers were trending in the genre that I was writing. I researched packaging and studied marketing. Next, I studied what other bestselling authors in my genre were doing right to improve my own sales.

As you can see, my final cover hits the paranormal romance market perfectly. The first one was too vague, and the second wasn't quite right either. The third one would make the reader think this is a heavy science fiction novel, which it is not. The story doesn't even take place in space, but on Earth. My book sales have tripled shortly after I redid my cover to the final version on the bottom right-side. I finally did something smart, and I went with a cover that reflected the genre and hit my target audience. 

What is most likely hurting sales of a book is when a cover is not "genre specific." As writers, we might envision what we think would make a cool cover, but it usually doesn’t work. We have to look at it from a marketing standpoint instead of as a writer.

Once you start thinking about a cover in terms of “packaging,” it will make all the difference. When I redid the “golden trifecta,” as the bestselling H. M. Ward calls it, my sales improved within six weeks. And I mean that it made a difference from selling only five books a day to more than fifty.

The book cover is only packaging. It’s like an advertisement or a stop sign. It's main purpose is to attract readers in the genre that the book is written in and get them enticed enough to read the blurb and the excerpt. That’s it. 

The best cover is a design that is “genre specific” and sells the most books!

Also, it is a general advertising principle that having a face and/or people on a product (like the book cover) will help boost sales and attract readers. 

*Tip: As you're searching for a premade book cover or having one designed, please keep in mind that the models on the cover don't need to look exactly like your hero or heroine, but just enough so the reader can form their own image of your characters in their mind.

For example, in the book cover featured below, could anyone tell what genre this book is? Or what the book might be about?

The fonts are off, none of the images blend together, and that pasted in camel makes the cover look amateurish. 

My advice is to have a cover that is genre specific. Put some cash aside and get yourself a book cover designed, or even buy a premade in your genre that reflects what's on the bestseller's lists. And it is NOT copying or generic to have a cover that gives readers instant recognition of the story and genre. 

I have studied the market and the bestsellers in almost every genre before creating my premade book cover designs, so that you can quickly pick a cover, upload it to KDP and other self-publishing sites and start making more money. So please take a moment to browse my premade covers. And if you're really on a tight budget, then we can work something out. I sincerely want to help. Contact me to discuss pricing. :-D


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FYI: I am always willing to work with authors on a budget. If you need to make payments on a design, please contact me and we will work something out. I understand that buying covers can be expensive, so please just send me an email and let me know which cover you like, and again, I'm happy to work with authors on payment plans. And I often offer new clients a generous discount.

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