Chris A. Baird | July 6, 2021
What You Need To Know About Covers

If you want to become one of the best-selling authors then you need to make sure that you have a good cover to create a good impression of your book. Here's what you need to know about covers that can help you win the self-publishing game.

Ordering A Premium Photo

Today's article has three points and you're going to want to stick around for the third point. Because it's a secret as to the one thing you should do with your covers if you wish to increase sales.

Our topic for today is what you need to know about covers. Now as a writer, you're first getting started and you're figuring this whole writing thing out. You have to format your book, you have to have a description, you need keywords, a title, and an author's name on your book.

Then you also need to have a cover for your book. Usually, this is the next natural step once we've figured out the basics of what the book is going to be called and such. But where do we get the cover from?

How much should I pay for a cover? What should it look like and all of the organization? Because if you're not a graphic designer, this whole cover thing can be very confusing.

It will leave you wondering "I have no idea what I should be doing next on the cover front". And that is what we're going to hit in today's article. Grab a copy of my free Self-Publishing Checklist to make sure that you are not skipping any of the secrets to self-publishing.

When I first got started with self-publishing, I followed a Kindle book that was telling me exactly step by step how to go about doing this. And they said one of the keys was ordering a premium photo to go on the cover.

And then you could hire someone on Fiverr which is a website. At the time it was $5, now it's like $7 but functionally the same. To put it together with the title and to do the formatting for your cover. So the thing is I paid $40 for a premium photo on one of the premium photo sites.

I found a photo that looked like something that would definitely work for me. Then the result was absolutely terrible, it was an awful result. I was not happy at all with the way that it looked.

The formatting in the way that they put the text on it. It was almost as if they had no idea what they were doing. My biggest challenge here though was that I didn't understand how to use Fiverr appropriately. I figured you could just choose anyone who's doing covers and it should be just fine.

I didn't understand that a lot of people may not understand English as well on Fiverr. As a result, they may just be starting so when you give instructions, they're not completely clear over it. Now everybody gets better with practice especially if you're using a different language than what you're familiar with.

And I can tell you as somebody who's had to learn Norwegian over the last couple of decades, I can tell you that as you practice you get a little bit better each year with it. Now the next thing I did was I went to Upwork and I found an artist to do my covers.

Now, this worked great, I was paying about a hundred dollars a cover. So, on my earliest of books, you can look them up, they end up having these comics or maybe they wouldn't be like a photo but it would be sort of like artwork that the person had put together.

I thought they were excellent covers, they still buy today's standards are excellent covers and especially for a hundred dollars, they were a great deal. The thing is I ended my journey going next to Canva and understanding I could just have put the covers together even for free.

I was testing out ghost-written books at the time under pen names and then I was taking their covers and putting them on there. Only to discover that they were outselling many of my books which is completely crazy. Because I heard "oh this is a popular niche" then you put that book out on that particular topic.

You get somebody who can research it and write a book together. You use Canva to put the cover on the book and then suddenly people are loving the book. Giving positive feedback on this particular book and they're beating my own books.

I'm just amazed at just because of the correct topic, that you're within a hungry market, you can sell. That was my first experience with that and I could not even believe it. But Canva has a whole series of limitations, especially in their latest ones.

A Cover's Job

They are choosing not to put in the resolution that's necessary to go about putting your books onto Kindle. So I found that I was having serious issues lately even with some of my students who were attempting to go this particular route and then having a challenge.

So they had to not use the built-in templates on Canva. But creating the templates to ensure that the dimensions and the resolution of the cover you're creating match what is required by Amazon Kindle.

It's a little few more steps and of course, with Canva, I realized people were just making covers off of their website and they were just doing incredibly well. My final location was Fiverr and if you check that out, you can see the artist that I use on Fiverr. It costs about $18 to do a cover and this person has done tons and tons of covers for me.

I've been very happy with the results for those covers in terms of bringing in regular income while I am sleeping on those covers. That's just a little bit of the journey that I've been through. I ended up going from Fiverr and all the way back to Fiverr.

But the difference was I found this person by saying show me the person who's had the most orders and then choosing the highest-rated person on Fiverr. So we know the reviews are real, the ones on Fiverr, and then it helped me better find the cover.

So what you need to know about covers? Now here are a couple of things you need to know. The first thing is the cover is the second most important thing only second to your title.

I've been recently discussing this even on Youtube here on this exact subject with some people who are exploring the subject of the power of covers. And the reason is that a person, initially, unless they already know you if you're an established author, well then none of this matters.

Because they're just going to see you put out a new book and they will buy it if they know, like, and trust you. But if they don't know you, then either your ads are going to pull your cover in front of people. Or more likely they're going to search for particular keywords right based upon the type of novel you're writing.

Or if you're solving a problem like you know my classic of Puppy Training and Essential Oils, then up comes your book if your title is optimized for the keywords. So that they would see that you've got the listing that comes up like the search result page.

Your first search result page and up comes your book because it's titled Essential Oils or Puppy Training. And as a result of the people who go in there and they then see the cover. Now that cover becomes the next most important thing.

That's why it's the second most important thing because the cover is not going to get in front of people. But if they search the keywords, that will pull up your book. Now the cover has a job, it's to show them exactly what to expect that is going to solve their problem.

Check out this related article: How Authors Get Paid

But there are a couple of things we need to pay attention to. The first thing is your cover needs to pop out on the screen and be easily read in thumbnail size. So when your readers get to see the cover first of all this microprint. And putting thousands of things on the cover where it's confusing, is a terrible idea.

So do not do that with your cover. Make sure that the text is easy to read even when you shrink it down just a little teeny thumbnail size. Because that probably is what they're going to see.

The same goes for your ads. When they look at your ads for your cover, it is the cover that's going to sell it. Now people say you can't judge a book by its cover, well I'm here to tell you it's the opposite. They are completely judging your book by its cover.

It is the most important from a marketing standpoint only second again to the title itself. These things are making promises. They're telling your potential reader your prospect that this is something that they are going to want to check out.

And they will regret it if they do not buy this book but how would they know that? The answer is because the cover is so fantastic it just pops out when they're looking at that cover. If it isn't popping out, you're wasting time on your cover.

Top-Selling Covers

Now, what you need to know about covers? The third answer and our secret answer of the day it's that your cover should look similar to the best-sellers in your niche or genre. Don't get creative with the covers, your readers are already telling you what exactly they want and what do your readers want?

They want a cover that looks like the books they're already buying in your genre. In fact, this goes so far as many authors will use the same photos even on the covers because they're so good. Or using a free photo from Pixabay for example to put that onto your cover, premium level cover.

It's identical to the other best-sellers in your niche which is completely legal because you're not stealing their cover. You're using a cover you either paid for or a cover that was already free in the first place. Then you'll have multiple books using the same artwork on the cover.

Because it is such a powerful way to sell your book and the readers they don't even care. The only thing you have to remember is that we are doing whatever it takes to get them to click on that cover. Because when they click on the cover, now we're on the sales page, we move from the marketing side of things to the sales page and that's an important distinction.

Marketing is all about bringing your reader into the location where you can then sell them on purchasing your book. We want to get them to that sales page. But if they didn't find the book because your title has some crazy clever name but not something they're looking for, they won't find it.

Check out this related article: Pen Names for Authors: Pros & Cons

And then if your cover doesn't look great, they won't click on it to bring them to the sales page. Where they can read the description, click on your author's profile, and look inside the book. They can do several different actions and finally make up their mind.

Whether or not your book will solve the problem that they're looking to solve and click "Buy Now". And that is exactly where this all leads. So don't get creative, you see the books they're buying within your genre or your niche and make sure yours looks just like those top-selling covers and you will be surprised.

If your book looks completely different than the top-selling ones, when they see it, they will assume this isn't for me. Because I know the books that I'm looking for look like these best-sellers over here. Even though they won't tell you this and your readers or the prospective readers, they're not even going to know it themselves.

But they sort of know it if I'm buying for example a book on How to Program and in particular let's say Learning Excel or something like that, a lot of these books look identical. So if I have like nature photos and pictures of families running around, that doesn't match what I would think of as a technical manual.

So that would be something that would discourage me from purchasing the book. As opposed to the top-sellers where it has a picture maybe of the Excel. It's got a spreadsheet, it's got somebody serious business-looking person may be sitting at a computer.

So there are many things I would expect to see on that cover. And if you're deciding to get crazy clever both on your description or your title and then on your cover, it's going to make it impossible to sell your book. You might be thinking "but my book is such high quality?".

You won't even get a chance because your marketing is terrible. And you're thinking "what does marketing have to do with the cover?" As I mentioned, your cover is part of the marketing. So my question for you today is have you found choosing the right cover to be difficult?

If you found it difficult then write "Yes" below in the comments and if you found it super easy then write "No" below in the comments. And check out my other articles and videos for more answers to your self-publishing questions.

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