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Chris A. Baird | July 27, 2021
Your Self Published Book Is Judged By It's Cover

Are you afraid to get judgments regarding your book covers? Here's what you should do when your self-published book is judged by it's cover.

Things You Need To Consider

Today's article has three points and you're going to want to stick around for the third point. Because I'm going to tell you something you've maybe not heard before when it comes to choosing the exact correct thumbnail or your cover for your book.

Our topic for today is, your self-published book is judged by it's cover. I know exactly what you're thinking, you're thinking nobody judges a book by its cover. That's a terrible idea, a book should be judged by the quality.

You can look at many of the most famous books that have ever been written, all of what we would call the classics. When you look at a bookshelf, often they don't even have any drawings or illustrations on the cover. It's just a plain color with the title name and the author.

So why in the world would people judge a book by the cover? The answer is that is exactly what they do. I'm sorry but that's what they do, we're going to get into this a little bit.

When you are choosing your cover, here are some things you need to consider if you wish to see your book sell. Because I have seen way too many of my students create terrible covers. The result is no sales even though the quality of the books that they've put out is fantastic.

That is what we're going to hit in today's article. Check out my free Self-Publishing Secrets Checklist to make sure that you are not skipping any of the secrets necessary to get your book onto the market and sell it.

From my own story, when I first made my very first covers, I didn't even look to see what other people were doing. Why should I look at what other people are doing? I didn't look at what they were doing when I chose my titles when I wrote the book.

I didn't look what they were doing when they made their covers or when they are formatting or any of this other stuff. So I figured, "look, I can choose which color or which covers are going to be great". If the cover looks good to me, well then I'm sure it will look great for my future customer.

Because after all, my customers or the readers that I'm going for would be able to judge and figure out. They would have the same opinion that I would have, wouldn't they? Well not exactly, that is completely a mistake on my part thinking that my readers would care what my opinions are.

They care about what their opinions are and that's a little bit of why the cover matters so much. So what happened was that I was listening to podcasts and I learned that with some romance novels' certain images and covers that they were choosing to use were so powerful at getting sales.

Multiple authors were using these identical pictures on their covers. Because they were just that good and we might be thinking, well don't people care about originality on the cover? I mean if you're going to choose a book, you see these multiple books have the same cover, the same person on the cover.

This would suggest that these books are just copies of each other. Maybe they're not as good of quality. The problem is your ideal readers are not paying any attention to what all of the other books on the market are doing.

They're simply focused on one book at a time and when you're running your ads, they're going to see your book cover. That's where a little bit of a decision is going to be made. So what happened was I ended up changing my covers.

Check out this related article: How (and Why) to Start Your Own Publishing Company?

I started seeing a huge jump in the sales of my books. And the thing is that if you're interested, here is the cover designer on Fiverr that I use today. You can pay about $18 for a cover that is a quality cover.

It's not it will win a war, I mean I have books that we're making hundreds and hundreds of dollars a month with this cover designer. I mean I can't even believe she only charges $18. But you know, you can decide if you want to pay a lot more money or do it as I did originally which is doing free covers on Canva.

These are all options that you can do with your covers. But I went back and had them all remade once I understood several little secrets and just why covers are so important. But let's get into it, your self-published book is judged by it's cover.

The thing is that as I've mentioned in other articles and I'm hitting this again because it keeps coming up in the comments and I keep having this discussion. There is a couple of aspects to it I haven't hit previously. The most important thing is your title.

Because a person is doing a search and your title will come up. We're talking about people that don't already know you. Because if they know, like, and trust you, they're going to buy your book anyway.

We're dealing with all of the thousands of self-published authors out there. Maybe millions of authors out there who have come out with a book and you don't have an audience. We're needing to sell these books to people who maybe don't know, like, and trust us.

Book Title Is Important

The first thing they're going to do is they're going to type into the search bar on Google or on Amazon which is one of the top three search engines on the earth at the moment. That it's going to come up with your book titles. Maybe your titles include the keywords that they're looking for.

That's one of the key strategies here so that then pulls in. But what are they going to see now? They're going to see it because the book title was the most important.

They're going to see your cover and that is why it matters so much. So what are we going to do for the covers? I don't know, we should listen to what our readers are telling us they are willing to spend money on.

How would we know that? How would we know in our genre or niche what our readers are willing to spend money on? The answer is we look at the best sellers on Amazon. It is unbelievably easy to do the sorting by the best-sellers in that category, that's one option.

The other option is to search for the keywords that our book is based upon to see those covers. I use a tool called KDSpy you can check that out. It's a fantastic tool in terms of figuring out the ranking of the books and also the books that come up in the search results.

They will give you a good idea, not just the titles but also you can look at the covers for those books. To make sure that these books are things that you're going to want to consider when it comes to creating your book cover.

One of the issues that did come up recently was somebody who said I'm in a genre or niche that doesn't have other competition, I can't find anybody else now. In one sense, that can be a little bit risky because if nobody is writing books on it, you're attempting to create a new market.

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But usually, not so much. Usually, no matter which type of book you're going to have, there's going to be some books in some market nearby that's a similar genre as yours. And if that's the case, those readers know what they want to read.

If you look at the top sellers in that for example in fantasy or science fiction, you're going to notice something crazy. The covers all look very similar. It's not just like all over the place with flowers or blank covers or whatever.

They're going to be very very similar, the top sellers will be copying each other. They're clustering closely and one of the keys here is that you're going to want to make your cover look just like their covers that you're going to be discovered.

They're going to look at your cover and immediately know what the genre of your book is. You're going to communicate that information, they're going to give you a quarter of a second as they judge your entire book. Don't care about the contents, what it contains and how many times you edit it.

How wonderful you think it is or even your beta readers may think that it is. They're going to judge you very quickly by that cover and I'm hoping for your sake that the cover mixes in well with the best-sellers in your category.

Because when those people are looking to put money in another, take a risk because that's what they're doing. If they buy your book, they take a risk on you that they're going to see the cover and say "this is a book I want to read, it looks just like those other books I've already read and love".

This is a very key powerful strategy you're going to want to remember. Number two, make your covers look similar to each other so it's very clear they're in the same series. This was another mistake, I followed this one pretty closely.

But I had made it on later books a little bit of a mistake. So that when you have books under a given pen name or in a series, that it's easy for all for the readers to see when they pull up your name. Or if they pull up the book, it's going to show up.

They're all going to look like part of a series. The reason this also matters is when we create book bundles. We've discussed that strategy before, we can combine these books into a bundle.

It'd be like three books put together into one. Let's say it was the fourth book in that series that is bundling the first three, you're going to have a cover that also matches those three. So that they'll decide whether they're going to want to buy the bundle.

Because you're of course going to offer a discount when they buy multiple books at the same time. They all fit together with those covers so it just makes it seem like "wow this is what I want to collect, the whole set".

As opposed to all having different covers and being all over the place. That would discourage you from perhaps trying to figure out whether they would want to buy all of them.

Make Sure It's Readable

I know that if you look at the top series like Hunger Games or Harry Potter or any of the other books that are coming out now, recently you'll notice all of them have a very similar cover. And this is not by accident, it will increase your sales.

So the first one we ended was we match the cover of the best-sellers. The second thing is we make sure that all of our books are under the same pen name, in the same genre, or whatever. We're already creating the covers based on wanting to bundle them together so that we can increase our sales.

And trust me, these bundles make a lot of money. This is something you're not going to want to skip. The other thing with the bundles is that you don't have to write that book.

You just take the three manuscripts and put them together at a lower price. Then it plays games on people's heads, "do I buy the bundle or do I buy them one by one where it costs so much more?". So this is the sort of thing we want our readers to have to think through which way do they want to go.

But since the covers all sort of match, well I want to collect all of them. That's the sort of mindset that we're looking for. Let's get to it our third and secret point of the day and that is to make sure the text on your covers can be read easily when it's the size of just your thumbnail.

That is because when our advertisements are coming up or suggested/recommended, other books come up on Amazon or on any platform for that matter. They're not going to be huge, gigantic book-sized thumb pictures of your cover. It's going to be the size of a little thumbnail.

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On that thumbnail, we're going to want to make sure we do not have any additional information. We don't need to credit the editor or credit the cover designer or any of these sorts of credit. I've seen people do this, like who did this or who did that.

This is a terrible idea unless your name is already well-known, we do not need your name in humongous print on your cover. They do not know you, what's going to happen is they may recognize several of your titles match, as we talked about in tip number two.

But they don't know you, the one thing we need to see is that in big print on that cover is the title the subtitle should be there. It doesn't matter if it's so big of print but the title needs to be there. If it's fiction, it needs to be a little bit similar to the other best sellers in your genre.

So that it's going to not look like something completely off the wall. "I have no idea what this book is about" If it's non-fiction, then it's even easier because then you're going to have that keyword. Like what is it, if it's Puppy Training, well then your book title is going to be Puppy Training.

It's going to be exactly like this when they look at that cover. It looks very similar to your competitors or the best-sellers. They're going to see Puppy Training as opposed to the next book which maybe they say they come up with some clever games.

I don't know, maybe "Wag The Tail" would be the name of their Puppy Training book. Nobody has a clue what that is, it doesn't show up when they search for it. And when they see the thumbnail, "I don't have any idea what that means".

I mean you got a clever title and your book is amazing. Nobody's going to read it though because when they look at it, it's making a promise and that's what a cover is really about. It's promising them what they can expect.

This is something you're not going to want to miss. You're going to want to make sure you implement all three of these tips when you're doing your book covers. Have you looked at what the best-sellers in your genre cover look like?

How does it compare to yours? If you have looked at the covers and considered that, write "Yes" below in the comments. And if you've never done it write "No" below in the comments.

Because I need to know where you're coming from. How far in this journey, have you come with a cover game? I want to know so please do let me know to take the time.

This tells me also that you're reading these articles as well as watching my Youtube videos. Then that helps me know that I'm on the right track. Let me know below in the comments and check out my other articles and videos for more answers to your self-publishing questions.

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