Welcome to part two in this two-part blog post on the most common book cover mistakes. If you missed the first part of this post, be sure to go back and check it out now.
5. Having a BIG author name
I’m not talking about being big, as in a big-time author, but I mean big as in having big text on the cover of the book. Now, if you’re Stephen King and you got Stephen King on the cover in big letters, that’s gonna be something that grabs people’s attention because they know the name. But if you are “John Neverheardofme Doe”, it’s not going to be the same draw.
This advice is pretty controversial. It’s quite a popular strategy for even no-name authors to put their names on the cover in large bold fonts in a hope that it’ll give people the assumption that they are famous (even though they might have only sold three books). This is not a very honest approach and the results are certainly not guaranteed. It’s usually better to let the image on the cover speak for itself.
4. Series that don’t have similar covers
When a book has a sequel, there are many possible approaches for making the cover for it. It can take some time to write a sequel and during that time an author’s taste can change, or maybe they want to experiment a little bit with the designs. All these things will most likely result into one outcome: book covers that don’t look that they belong in the same series.
Continuity between your book covers (especially in a series) is absolutely essential. Not having this continuity is a huge marketing mistake because if you have written a series, you logically want your readers to read all the books in that series. If the covers look different, the readers might wonder and think “Wait a minute, is this the same series? This book cover doesn’t look anything like the others but it says it is…”. All of that doubt is bad for you. It’s an opportunity for the reader not to buy the next book. And the next one. And the next one…
For this reason, I recommend you stick with the same cover designer all the way through. Or if you really don’t like your first cover design and think that a different style could improve it, change all covers in the whole series.
3. Low-quality personal images
Some authors think it’s a good idea to work with images they have taken themselves on their own camera (which in today’s world it often a phone).
99% of the time, this is a bad idea.
There is a reason that professional photographers exist. Personal images are often imperfect (or worse). Even if you think that the photo you have taken looks great, there might be many small things which will give away that it’s not a high-quality image – and your potential readers will recognize this.
Unless it’s absolutely essential to your story to have a personal image on the front, and I’m talking even about biographies here, and pretty much nothing else, I’d recommend that you don’t use photos you have taken yourself.
2. Asking for feedback from close friends and relatives
This is probably something you’ve heard before when it comes to your writing, and it applies just as much to your cover design. Close friends and relatives don’t provide honest feedback. They want you to feel good. They aren’t being dishonest, it’s just that their feedback is never going to be impartial because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. A better idea is to run a poll on Facebook or try a service like PickFu which lets you compare several design concepts and tells you what your potential audience prefers.
1. Worrying about the size of the text on your thumbnail
Thumbnail images of your book cover are very important. But people are often paying too much credence to whether they can see the text in these thumbnails. The reality is that this doesn’t matter nearly as much as people think.
When viewing a cover thumbnail on Amazon (or most other retailers), the text of the book is written right beside it, meaning there’s no need to emphasize it on the cover. Instead, you should focus on the image work and the overall design of your book cover. That is the main way of grabbing a potential reader’s attention.
So, I hope you enjoyed the second part of this post. Hopefully, this post helped you to find out what to avoid in your book cover, and also gave you some useful tips on what to include! I’ll be back with another blog post soon!