Do you feel like your book cover is letting you down when it comes to sales, discoverability, and brand building? If you said “yes,” a book cover redesign may be just what you need.
Is Redesigning Your Cover Worth the Effort?
Yes, it definitely is! A professional cover redesign can give your book a fresh start. Big New York publishing houses do cover refreshes for their backlist titles all the time. They understand the powerful effect a cover redesign can have on a book’s discoverability and sales. Let’s explore some of these benefits more closely. An effective new cover can:
Even books with strong sales hit plateaus. A cover redesign can help your book break through to the next level, especially if your book is a few years old. Design trends change, and a cover redesign ensures your book continues to look relevant when book browsers see it next to more recently published books. Cover redesigns are also a great way to rekindle reader interest in a book. Plan a cover reveal to share your new design on social media and with your newsletter subscribers. And if your book has struggled to gain sales traction, the cover could be the problem. Maybe your original cover looks pretty, but is not a fit for your target audience. Or, maybe your cover is not effectively capturing the mood or essence of your story. Perhaps you didn’t work with a professional designer and your cover looks “homemade,” which can turn off book browsers in an instant before they even consider the amazing story inside. A redesign can fix this and other problems.
Rejuvenate a Book Series
As a book series evolves, its audience can expand or even change completely. Consider the Harry Potter series. Initially, the books’ primary audience was young readers, but as the series became a global phenomenon, the audience expanded to an older age group. The look and feel of the series had to mature with them, and the series went through a number of cover redesigns. Fun fact: The Harry Potter series has been published around the world with more than two hundred different covers.
Sometimes when authors write a book, they don’t realize that it’s the beginning of a series. If this happens, it’s wise to go back to book one and make sure the cover indicates that it’s book one of a series. And, of course, it’s important for all the books in the series to have a similar look and feel to indicate that they are part of a cohesive collection. If your covers don’t look like they are part of a series, that’s a problem a cover redesign can fix.
Build Awareness of Your Author Brand
Your author brand is the promise you make to your readers about the type of reading experience you offer. As brands have become more and more visual in the age of social media, it’s important for your cover to reflect your author brand. If that’s not the case with your current cover, maybe a redesign is worth consideration. Brands are one of the key ways that talented authors break through the noise in a very crowded book marketplace—and cover designs are important brand builders.
What to Consider for Your Redesign
Professional cover designers can spot problems with an ineffective cover right away. Let’s explore some common problems and see how our professional designers at Bublish turned ineffective or dated covers into refreshed, effective covers.
Let the Cover Tell the Story
Sometimes a cover is just washed out. It has some of the right elements, but it doesn’t catch readers’ attention. In the case of Just Holler Bloody Murder, the title indicates a murder mystery, but the original cover looks more like a nonfiction book. The redesigned cover contrasts light and dark to create a mood of mystery and suspense while the addition of more color compels book browsers to stop and learn more.
Because book browsers will only look at a cover for a moment, they must understand almost immediately what type of mood and reading experience the book offers. In a matter of seconds, readers should be able to tell if your book is a thriller, memoir, romance, or business book. The redesigned cover for Just Holler Bloody Murder has a dark, mysterious background juxtaposed against bright lights that illuminate some of the thrilling elements (like the menacing alligator) that are of interest to mystery/thriller readers.
Use Contrast for Legibility and Clarity
The design of a book cover should never overshadow the title or other text. Strong, simple designs make it easy to understand what a book is about. This is key. The text on the cover should work with the rest of the design to build interest and encourage book browsers to buy or read a sample of the book.
In the original cover for Buy-Sell Agreements by Paul Hood, the color of the word “Agreements” is similar to the background color. This makes it difficult to read the title quickly. This problem is rectified in the new book cover redesign on the right, where the text is written against a contrasting white background to ensure visibility and readability. Additionally, the original book cover lacks a subtitle. The new cover adds detail and meaning with an effective subtitle: The Last Will and Testament for Your Business. Subtitles (and series titles) not only provide information to readers, but offer important keywords that improve discoverability by the algorithms that most online retailers now use to show the right books to the right readers.
Know Your Target Audience
Understand your target audience and package your book accordingly. Study top comparable titles in your genre to learn the latest trends. Make sure your book cover both blends in and stands out.
The new cover design of the novel The Cracked Slipper by Stephanie Alexander shows just how striking a cover redesign can be. The feminine, fairytale energy of the new design does a better job of capturing the essence of the reading experience. The most recent book cover reflects the connection between the lady and her cracked shoe (to signify the not-so-happily-ever-after of the story), which is more likely to captivate potential readers and trigger them to buy the book. This idea is not as vivid on the old cover design.
Strive for Professional Design and Creativity
On any effective cover, words and imagery work together as a whole to interest the reader. The original version of Libido’s Twist by Ron McManus looks homemade, sends a confusing message, and lacks creativity. It also fails to indicate that the book is part of the award-winning Jake Palmer series. This is all fixed in the redesign.
The old book cover design also lacks proper vertical spacing for the title, fails to create the right mood or indicate a setting for the story, and lacks color and contrast. The cover redesign corrects these problems and tells readers this is a mystery/suspense novel set in England. Think about which book you would be more likely to buy. The redesigned cover wins hands down because it’s more colorful, engaging, and effective at quickly conveying important information to the reader.
An effective, engaging book cover has always been one of the most important assets an author can use to market their book, and today, covers are more important than ever. With more than 70 percent of all book sales taking place through online retailers, covers play a pivotal role in converting book browsers to book buyers. In an online retail setting, there is no well-read bookstore owner is talking up your book and telling book browsers how great your book is. Today, algorithms and product pages are some of the top drivers of online book discovery. That’s why your book’s cover must quickly capture book browsers’ attention, effectively convey the work’s reading experience, and compel book browsers to read a sample or buy your book before they click away to one of the thousands of other choices. If your current book cover isn’t up to the challenge, a professional cover redesign is a worthwhile investment. If you’d like to learn more about Bublish’s cover design or redesiging services, click here to contact us, or simply schedule a call with the Bublish team here.