Episode 12: Do You Judge a Book by its Cover?

Episode 12: Do You Judge a Book by its Cover?
Photo Credit:  Dean Drobot / 123rf.com

 

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Welcome to The Book Marketing Action Podcast with Becky Robinson! In this episode, Becky and Christy Kirk share the importance of a good title and book cover, and the difference they can make. If you’re a self-published or traditionally published author, this episode will guide you through picking the perfect cover and title for your new book.

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but we all do. Your book title and cover are crucial because it’s the first thing a shopper will see. While it is possible to change your title and cover later on, once you publish your book, you begin to build name recognition and your book cover becomes recognizable, making it harder to change later on. 

If you’re transitioning from the place of working on your book to selecting a title and cover, here are 3 general ideas for selecting a great title and cover for your new book.

  • Don’t fall in love with your title. The biggest trap authors fall into is creating a title as they are writing their book. If you fall in love with your title, it will be harder to change it down the road. You have to make sure your title resonates with your audience as much as it does with you. While writing your book, create a working title that you will hold on to loosely, but won’t get heartbroken about when it changes. 
  • Create a title survey. We recommend creating a title survey with subtitle and title options for your audience to see what resonates. This allows your audience to give you feedback, and gives you a feel for what is resonating with people and what isn’t. Make sure your survey is anonymous to create an opportunity for honest feedback.
  • Know what is selling. Your cover is crucial for your book marketing efforts because you will use it on Amazon, social media platforms, and your website. Anywhere your book shows up, the visual identity of your book is defined by your cover. Know what is happening in the marketplace by asking yourself, What do bestseller book covers look like right now?and identify what is selling. Your cover should visually reinforce your title.  

If you are self-publishing your book, it should be indistinguishable from a traditionally published book. Here are 2 important tips if you are self-publishing your book.

  • Do NOT skimp. The design of your book cover is the time to really invest in your book. You will get advice to hire someone on Fiverr (there are a few talented people on Fiverr), but we encourage you to hire a professional graphic designer or artist when it comes to your book cover. This will give you the opportunity to co-create your cover with a skilled, professional artist or graphic designer. Your cover will make the difference between sales and no sales. 
  • Get feedback on your cover. Just like we recommended you create a survey for your title, we also encourage you to create a survey for your book cover. The best feedback will come from people who are in your target audience. 

We often serve clients who have partnered with an independent or large traditional publisher to bring their book to the market. Here is our advice for people who are traditionally published.

  • Speak up. One of the frustrations we see the most often is that our authors dislike the covers their publishers deliver to them. You have the power and the voice to change the cover, don’t be afraid to speak up and work collaboratively and proactively with your publisher to create a great cover and title. 
  • Get feedback. Work with your publisher to get feedback from others on your title and cover. As we’ve mentioned, the best feedback will come anonymously from people who are in your target audience. 

Here are two quick action steps you can take to set yourself up for success with your upcoming book project.

  • Research top-selling books in your category. Go over to your favorite online bookseller (our new favorite is bookshop.org) and look at the top-selling books in your category. This will give you a sense of the covers that are performing well and what a successful book covers look like.
  • Create a title survey. Plan in advance that one of the steps in your process towards the publication of your book will be a title survey so you can get market feedback on the title you are selecting.

If you are an author who is in the midst of a book project now and could use some help with your book cover or title, we’d encourage you to contact Becky today. We would love to talk with you about the way our team can support you with any of these initiatives related to selecting the right title or cover for your next book project. 

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