Judge a book by its cover

I guess it’s easy to judge things by appearances – an elegant greyhound versus a scruffy mutt. A beautifully groomed woman versus one who obviously makes no effort with her hair or clothes. A shiny new car versus a battered old rust-bucket.

Does the same apply for book covers? I always enjoy a look through the charts of the iBook store because there are so many covers so close together that comparisons are easy. Amazon’s charts display twenty at a time and then you have to click to the next page, but the iBook store has two hundred at a time to scroll easily through.

Here are Amazon’s top sellers for this week (six of which are Harry Potter!)

Here’s a page from Amazon’s best sellers today (updated hourly).  https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Kindle-Store/zgbs/digital-text/ref=zg_bs#3

What jumps out at you? A certain color? A fashionable one, or one no-one else is using? A big bare chest? A huge author name? Blocky letters? Graceful curvy ones? Can you tell if it’s a thriller, a cozy mystery, a paranormal, chicklit or a historical romance just by the style of the cover? (You should be able to.)

Cover designers use a lot of clever shorthand to convey things. It’s a sure sign of an amateur if there are a number of different fonts, a mess of pictures, and a whole lot of ‘extras’ like awards and other bits and bobs stuffed in there. For the most part, the book description, or blurb, is the place for those. And can you even read it? Font colours that match background colors too closely can disappear when the covers are shrunk for some of the ebook stores.

I suppose I’m thinking covers right now because I’m considering changing the people on one of mine. Will it make a difference? I’ll never know unless I try it. That’s the magic of ebooks – instant options.

I changed the people on Christmas Holiday Hearts a few weeks ago from Mr Baldy to Mr Hairy. Sales have gone up very nicely, but it has ‘Christmas’ in the title, and one of the others in that series has been free, and included in a couple of promos, so it won’t just be the cover design doing that. We’ll see what happens in the next few weeks. Do you like the new couple better?


Professional-looking covers give you faith the book inside will also be professional. Not always true, unfortunately, but I hate to think how many great books are out there hidden behind dull, boring, messy, obviously amateur covers.