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Why you should always judge a book by its cover

I am part of quite a few writer’s groups on Facebook. You won’t find a lot of helpful stuff in these communities, but I do like keeping a finger on the pulse of what is going on in Author land and I like helping out authors with genuine questions.

A few days ago, an author started a self-promotion thread. He basically asked people to post their book, their Amazon author page of other links to materials in the thread. Every now and then I like to go through these threads to see if there is some unknown talent hiding away in these posts.

But as I went through author page after author page, Kindle book listing after kindle book listing, there was one thing that hit me: almost all these covers were absolutely terrible! And there was a massive difference in Kindle rank and number of reviews between authors that used MS paint to make a cover and authors that purchased a professional looking cover.

You work so hard on your book! Why bring your book down with an ugly cover?

Imagine: you are going to a job interview. You have a great degree, you have an amazing career and you now have the opportunity to make your skills and hard work pay off big time. You worked so hard to make your life in order, to get where you are now – and this job interview will allow you to fulfil your dreams. And you show up in ripped, muddy trousers, an old paint-stained T-shirt and ruffled up hair.

How big do you think the chance is that the company will hire you? – Even though you might have amazing credentials…

Don’t you think that showing up at such an important job interview looking like a bum is doing a disservice to all the work you have put into your career and chasing your dreams so far?

Then why would you do the same to your book? Why would you not take the time to make your book look as best as it can? You put so much time, love, effort and passion in your book – and then you sent it off to the readers – their ‘job interview’ looking like a third-rate rag.

And that is basically one of the reasons why covers for me – both as a reader and a blogger, are incredibly important. If you really love your writing. If you really respect your book. You put an amazing cover on there. The cover is not the cherry on top of the cake: it is the cake. It will shape the way people perceive both you as an author and the work you put out there.

As the market gets crowded – you need to up your book cover game.

Thousands of new books are published every week. The market gets crowded and we really need to stand on the tips of our tows if you want to be noticed as authors. One of the ways to do this is by making sure your cover looks professional and abides industry and genre standards.

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The book cover plays a crucial role in introducing your book to new readers. It will also give away something about the genre of the book. For instance, if the cover is of a lady walking down a street on high heels with the Eifel Tower peaking out behind her – then this is most certainly a chick lit or women’s fiction book taking place in Paris. If the book features a dark and derelict house with ravens perched on top, it will probably be a spooky book.

As a marketer I can assure you that there is a very big correlation between the book cover quality and the book sales and blogger interest. When marketing books with amazing covers, we do not only receive a massive amount of blogger requests – we also see that the book sells more than their low-quality cover counterparts.

How to select a good cover.

Before selecting or commissioning a cover, it is important to research the cover styles of the best sellers in your genre. For instance – chick lit books often feature curly letters and cartoonish ladies in baths or on the beach. Horror covers are often dark with one bright colour focussed on one object. They use big letters and harsh fonts.

When you know what kind of cover you should go for, you can order a premade book cover on one of the many sites available. Prices range from $35 to $200 so there is something for every budget. You can also commission a book cover through a graphic designer or freelancer on Fiverr or Upwork.

Conclusion: there is no excuse.

We live in a digital world. This makes it not only very easy to buy quality and professional book covers, it also means that it is a lot easier for authors to write and publish their books. This means that the marketplace gets crowded and that you and your book need to stand out. One of the best ways to do this is by purchasing or commissioning a great book cover. This cover will help you to market and sell your book but will also tell people something about the genre of your book. Do not do yourself or your book a disservice and make sure to put a great cover on there before launching it on the online marketplaces.

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