How Important is Your Cover


August 7, 2014 by Mod

Occasionally I get into discussions with indie authors who believe:

a. Cover Designers’ prices are too high.

b. People should give away cover art.

c. Authors should find students or struggling artists who are desperate to do their cover for free.

d. The cover doesn’t matter anyway. Just do your own.

e. All of the above

I try to remain polite when faced with comments like this. But it’s hard. So consider the below (from a blog post by Tara Sparling) a vindication of my feelings about the worth of covers, and myself and my colleagues as cover designers.

What does a cover matter to indie authors?

It matters 25%. MORE than blurb or reviews and just less than sample (27%).

Okay, that’s only a quarter of your readers you’re losing by having a bad cover. Or is it? IN Tara’s research she didn’t ask respondents to specify what was the FIRST thing that drew them to consider buying a book. Given that the cover is the most visible part of a book listing or review almost anywhere it appears it’s conceivable to suppose that many potential readers never get beyond this step. Tara is asking her respondents what influences readers to BUY a book, not to NOT BUY one. I believe if this were the question, poor cover design would figure more prominently. I think I’ll do some research of my own on this.

Anyway, here are the graphs:


3 thoughts on “How Important is Your Cover

  1. Cassandra Scearce, Author Of Adoptive Personality says:

    I really want to purchase covers fs144 & 57 but don’t have outlook to contact you.

    Cassandra Scearce, Author of Adoptive Personality Sent from my LG Smartphone on Sprint

  2. shegyes says:

    As a reader, I admit that the cover, blurb and (if it has one when you first open the cover) excerpt are the first things that influence my purchase of a book. I also almost always buy books recommended to me by two family members because our interests parallel a lot. I’ll admit I’ve only read reviews a handful of times. My tastes don’t always match everyone else’s.

    As an author, I do not believe GOOD cover art should be free. Do I wish it were cheaper? Sometimes, but I do not tell a cover artist that because I know their prices reflect their skill, time and effort put into a cover art design. I realize the prices are set for their artwork due to those three factors.

    Trust me, you aren’t the only one who cringes when someone says “Why can’t it be free?” I feel the same way when someone asks me why I don’t just publish my stories for free (like I used to).

    I know a couple of authors who design their own cover art, but they are illustrators and designing children’s books. One writes non-fiction, and her cover art is decent as well. Neither of these authors offer cover art for free to others and they have both developed their skills based on their work as illustrators.

    Good post. I can’t wait to see the results of your own research. 🙂

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