How to use your book cover to sell more books

  • Your book cover needs the right features to appeal to your target reader. It should be eye-catching, evocative, bold, and clear.
  • Use your book cover as the centrepiece of your book promotion. Plan a book cover reveal, use your cover artwork in ad campaigns, and spread the word on social media.
  • Maximise sales by refreshing your book cover every 2-3 years. Don’t let your design go stale - find new readers for your work by testing out new covers for your book.

Your readers are out there. You've got the story to draw them in. But how can you get them to notice your book in the first place?

There are over 130 million books out there, so it can be easy to get lost amongst the shelves. It's a highly competitive market; in order to succeed, you'll need to be creative and eye-catching. Otherwise, your potential readers will move on to the next book down the line.

Let's think about this: what is the very first thing your readers notice that entices them to pick up your book? We might say "never judge a book by its cover," but that's exactly what we all do. Your cover is the number one thing that grabs your reader and inspires them to take a closer look.

If you're wondering how to sell more books, your book cover is an essential place to start. Especially if you’re new to publishing and your works isn’t very popular. You can also check out our guide on how much do authors make to get an idea of potential earnings.

Keep reading to learn how to make the most of your book cover.

The top features of a good book cover

Your book cover design is a crucial element in your book marketing. It's what gets your reader to pick up your book and start perusing the copy. While the combination of the two is what ultimately makes the book sell, the book cover is your catalyst for drawing your reader in.

So what makes an effective and memorable book cover? Here's our quick breakdown of the most important elements:

  • Appeals to your target audience and catches their eye
  • Fits the genre and direction of the book
  • Evokes the proper emotion in your reader
  • Is bold, clear, and legible (both in-person and online)
  • Is highly recognisable and marketed effectively (we'll go into more detail on this one later in this article)
  • Works as the "branding" of your book

Your book cover is what makes you stand out amongst the competition, but it also needs to be geared towards your target audience. If want someone else to do the job, a book cover designer who has mastered the above qualifications, will help you generate some serious sales.

What catches people's eye?

Different people have different tastes right? Action-packed covers, and minimalistic designs.. It’s a wide spectrum! Generally speaking there are a few things readers like - a bold and interesting cover, without it being overly cliché or cheesy. Contrasting colours and unique (but legible) font are great ways to grab their attention. You can also feature a teaser image of your characters in action.

Minimalistic covers leave a lot to the imagination, and readers can come up with their own ideas of what characters and places look like. More detailed covers sometimes look a lot like movie posters which the other end of the design spectrum.

One of our favourite terms here is intrigue. Go bold with your colours and font, but be sure to feature imagery that piques your reader's curiosity. That's a sure way to get them to take the book home.

Pulling off a prelaunch

It’s all about creating buzz while you’re writing your book. Setting up a buzz-worthy book launch is a key element in how to market your book. This is where your prelaunch comes in.

If you've done the legwork for a prelaunch, then it will make your book launch all the more successful. But better start early as it you’ll probably need a year to gain traction!

Not sure how to pull off a prelaunch? We've queued up some popular and successful prelaunch strategies to help you create your campaign.

1. Plan your Book Cover Reveal

Once you've completed your effective book cover, use it to build buzz around your book's release date. If you've got fan groups, a mailing list, and other outlets, these are the perfect places to send video teasers with your new cover.

Along with your book cover artwork, try featuring a call-to-action in the reveal ad, such as a preorder link or even a giveaway. This will get people hyped up for the release date. In the lead up to the book release you can do the following:

  • Setup a blog and share your experience
  • Setup social media pages
  • Build your email subscriber list.
  • Connect with bloggers which write about books in your genre
  • Join author groups
  • Join social media groups (don’t have to be specifically for authors)

2. Use Cover Artwork in Paid Social Media Ads

Once you've revealed your book cover, build your ad campaign around it. For example, reaching people with Facebook ads can be relatively cheap, in fact boosted social media posts that feature your cover artwork can be a great way to each your audience since you can really target the right people. That way, it will be easily recognisable when your book hits the shelves.

3. Make a Poster or Banner Advertising Your Book

Another way to use your book cover to create buzz around your book is by creating a poster with it. Be sure to include your release date as well as a call to action, such as a preorder website. Then, you can post these on your website and social media. Sometimes your local bookstore would allow writers to place a little poster for potential readers to see!

4. Sharing Your Book Cover

To create buzz and brand recognition around your book cover, post it across various online outlets.

Here are a few of our favourites:

  • SocialMedia: purchase boosted posts, post on your personal account, and change your profile/cover photos to reflect your book cover
  • Goodreads:create an author page on Goodreads, start discussion groups
  • Your personal website: rebrand your page with your book cover artwork and release date or preorder links

Sharing your book cover wherever possible is how you create excitement for your upcoming release.

How to sell more books: tips to keep in mind

In the UK, print book sales are going up, in fact, sales in 2018 reached nearly 200 million books, for an average of around £1.63 billion in sales. Clearly, there's still lots of money to be made in the print book market. But what are the best methods for how to sell more books?

Aside from designing a brilliant and eye-catching book cover, we have a few more tips to help you maximise your book sales:

  • Test new cover designs every 2-3 years and see which ones work the best
  • Think about other book cover designs and what makes them successful
  • Regularly engage and gather feedback with your fanbase via groups, email, social media, and more
  • Always keep your target reader's interests in mind
  • Stay active on social media and post content on your website

Prepare to sell more books!

Your book cover is a key element in driving book sales, so it's important to give it the time and attention it deserves. Now that you know more about designing an effective book cover, prepare to sell more books!

Creating an effective book cover isn't a task you should take on alone. Contact us now for a free quote to design your new book cover today.

Advice from a published writer
This article is always evolving and being updated regularly by our expert writers. Information featured in it has been fact-checked and verified.
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