Good or bad, your book is judged by its cover

B = Book Cover & Design

Unlike what we learned in kindergarten, books are judged by their covers.

Yes, the first impression of your book cover influences the reader. 

Some people are natural at putting forward that just stepped off the runway look, even at the grocery store. And there’s me in the produce aisle in my fluffy slippers. Hey, they’re warm!

I’m not homeless, just a little absent-minded. The lady shopping next to me, in four-inch Jimmy Choo’s, might be a model or she might be a femme fatale. Hmm, I feel a plot coming on.

But, back to the A-Z Challange and what I’ve learned over the past year from an amazing Web of Writing Bloggers.

six_backwardBackward Six (see #10 below)

If you want someone to pickup, or click on your book, the cover and design better grab. The book cover needs to pull at them, make them want to look inside or at the least, flip it over and read the back.

So although we are taught at a young age not to judge people by their looks, readers do judge a book by how it is presented.

12 things I learned from you guys about book cover and design:

  1. Looks are important. Forget what your mama told you about the inside being the most important part. If no one is drawn to open the book, they won’t read the story.
  2. A book cover must look good as a billboard or thumbnail and everything in-between.
  3. Artwork doesn’t have to be expensive to be good.
  4. Clean and eye-catching is better than cluttered.
  5. Not artistically inclined there is usually someone who can help. The world is as close as my keyboard.
  6. Research other book covers that are similar. Which ones worked and which ones didn’t.
  7. Art, image, and photo software need not be expensive. There are some that are free.
  8. A trendy book cover can work. (This I’m gonna need to remember in the future.)
  9. The book cover should go for an emotional response, then the reader will react.
  10. The eye reads a book cover from top left to bottom right, and across to the left again. (Backward 6.)
  11. The book cover is mine, even if I hire a pro, it presents my hard work to the world so I better make sure I’m happy with the end results.
  12. And last, but not least, I learned that I’m not going to get it right on the first, second or maybe even the third try. But that’s okay.
DIY: How to Design an Indie Book Cover By Alex Palmer
10 Tips for Effective Book Covers By:
5 Tips for a Successful Cover Design

Designing a Book Cover That Tells Christopher Lentz

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Let me know what you think about book and cover design.

Are you a DIY, or did you hire a pro, or do you fall somewhere in-between?

You can find me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdell and, stop by and say hey! Please remember to click and share this post with your Twitter peeps and Facebook fans.


26 thoughts on “Good or bad, your book is judged by its cover

  1. These are great points! As a Graphic Designer myself, I started to focus on book cover design because I realized that I CHOOSE BOOKS BY THEIR COVERS! Almost always!

    But I will read a book that is recommended to me, and this way I’ve discovered a lot of authors whose writing I have fallen in love with that I otherwise wouldn’t have chosen to read, simply because their covers were not that great! Since then, I have been offering cover design starting at only $50 because I want all authors to be able to put their best selves forward…

    I’m glad I found you through the challenge, and I look forward to coming back tomorrow!

    Designed by Monique

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I design my own covers, but I worked as a professional designer and studied design after the desktop publishing industry took off and I realized how many crappy DIY home designers were out there. So I know all too well how important a professional cover is, and I look at so many of the covers with amateurish artwork and terrible type selection and I want to cry. Look at the books in book stores, writers, and then compare them to the books online and see the difference. Study the books publishers are releasing for your market and that’s the look you want for your audience.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All great points! I’ve also heard an important factor for fiction books is that the cover must reflect the genre so that readers know if a book will appeal to their genre preference.

    I find Twitter is a great place for finding talented and even affordable cover artists. Few of us authors have the necessary talent to design our own covers. The investment is worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Looks are important but so is content. A math book can have the most darling cover but the second I realize it’s a math book I’m putting it back. Enough of that with high school. Just need the basics now.

    You have been minioned by Sheena-kay Graham
    Proud Minion of the Joy Brigade

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I definitely hire an artist for my covers although I know some people have been happy sketching an idea and approaching fiverr vendors. I found my artist by trawling the Book Designer monthly cover awards. Even for DIYers, the Book Designer artists offer professional comments on the covers. My new cover should be on the list this month. Hoping for accolades!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Can’t wait to see Deb. Give a shout when it’s out. I considered fiverr vendors but the five is just the beginning, cost can really add up as everything is a la carte. I’ll give Book Designer a look. Thanks.


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