How can I be sure I’m choosing the right book cover design?

Hi friends,

I need your opinion, please.

Is it really important to select a professional cover designer who has solid experience in creating bestselling cover design that does its intended job?

I recently read the following blog.

– Do you the author, feel a need to gather opinions about your proposed cover design, and do so only from a qualified focus group composed of prospective readers in your market segment who are interested in this specific topic?

As an author, it’s easy to seek input from people you know, like your spouse, friends and co-workers. They care for you and want what’s best for you, so it’s safe to trust their advice, right? WRONG!

In reality, their opinions are pretty much useless.

They are most likely not your target audience so what they think, well, it simply doesn’t matter. If you develop your book to make your friends and family happy, you end up with a book which won’t appeal to your buying audience.

When surveying your focus group, do not ask “What do you think about my cover design?”

Ask this question, and this question only: “Would you buy this book?”

Then sit back and wait for the answer. You are not soliciting opinions about design. Don’t even mention it. You only want to know if the cover compels them to buy.

Quote from blog – 8 mistakes will absolutely kill your book.
— Read more

Much of what is written above, I agree with.

Of late I have considered what actually works for me regarding book covers. My opinion is as valid as any one else’s, so my thoughts follow.

My second novel is soon to be published. A cover must be designed. I want to get it right as the series needs a certain unique look.

A respected author I follow on Facebook commented after reading my novel that my cover needs attention. The comment explained font size challenges that I am aware of, but what surprised me was that she believes the cover should have a person pictured on it.

I am wondering why she believes a human figure must be on the cover?

Do book covers really need someone as the focal point?

Would you buy a book without a person on the cover?

Does this human image actually encourage a potential reader to pick up a book and consider reading it?

Does it depend on genre?

My genre is historical fiction based upon genuine historical events in a family. Would a picture of an 1870s woman, or man or couple, display adequately the possible content of the book?

Not in my experience.

Many of my readers gaze with interest at the country scene with the stone building of ‘The Fortune Seekers- Dan and Charlotte’ and comment that they love my cover.

I ask, ‘Would you buy this book?’ The answer seems to be ‘maybe, as the picture on the cover has me interested.’

Personal promotion

I sell at Sunday Markets, enjoying chatting with those who stop to read the large blurb on my signage. Potential customers buy my book because of the relationship we form after our two way conversations. Success depends upon my ability to enthuse them to read it because it contains something they are interested in learning, exploring or understanding at an emotional level. Their interest is sparked when discovering they are talking with the author. Their smiles widen when I offer to sign their book.

Remember- WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) After a pleasant chat, and my personal signing, plus a book mark to move forward as they proceed into the story, they leave with happy memories related to the book. It’s a unique experience, not often happening to book readers.

Did the cover help? Maybe, maybe not.

But, in a bookstore or catalogue, what attracts a potential reader?

As an author I see many cover ideas on Facebook every week, and I read a number of books each month. For me it’s the Blurb followed by a quick preview of the style and opening pages that interests me.

A cover that is bright, simple, balanced and hinting at its possible genre by its title and picture will draw me. Whereas the beautiful faces, perfect figures that tend to be everywhere on the book shelves and ebook lists don’t.

An author friend published a few short stories last year. (Red cover, no picture at all, just the title and author name.) Knowing and enjoying his books, the plain cover didn’t put me off.

Saying that, I add that a very different, surprising, original book cover actually draws me to it. Whether or not it is professionally designed.

Uniqueness for me is the essence – whether it is the colours, font, or the fact that it piques my curiosity, urging me to read the back blurb, or skim over the first few pages to see if the writing style draws me quickly.

That, for me, speaks of a book cover doing its job.

How about you?

I am interested in your thoughts fellow book readers, especially when considering a book by an unknown author.

I am eager to hear whether a cover encourages you to buy a book.

Thank you.


How can I be sure I’m choosing the right cover design?YouTube clip

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