Book covers tell a story. They tell your story.
But when it comes to sharing the theme of the story, how important is it to make sure your design blends in with the others?
Does it benefit the cover to be more unique?
Does it sell more to ‘clone the trend’?
The pro’s of having a genre-specific cover:
- Your readers know what to expect: When your reader knows what kind of book it’s going to be, half the battle is won. No surprises to be had!
- Your readers will click on you much faster: In thumbnail form, readers will identify your book genre and click to seek out the blurb. The connection between their brain and your book saying “Chick-Lit” or “Romance” or “Thriller” happens in a split second. They’ve barely even looked at the details on the cover, yet are simply attracted to its genre design.
- There’s a standard to stick with, which makes it easy if you’re a DIY author. If you’re designing your own book cover, all you have to do is look at the other book covers in your genre and follow their lead. Learning from others who’ve already done it is much better than starting from scratch if you’ve never designed anything before!
The cons of having a genre-specific cover:
- You’ll blend in with the others, and be overlooked: If your cover looks like every other cover, why will the reader pick your book above the rest?
- You are limited to design and ideas: Genre-specific covers all look the same for a reason. They have the same elements, layout, type, colour scheme, title placement, etc… If you decide you have something original- something away from the normal trends- it means breaking away from your genre
- Your book might be cross genre, and may not lean to one more heavily than another: Specifying the genre of your book pigeonholes it for readers, and they’ll be expecting the majority of your book to make up that subject. If you’ve designed for romance readers, but there’s only a third of romance, but also a third of horror and a third of paranormal, they’re in for a bit of a shock.
The good thing about book covers is that they are not permanent!
As an authorprenuer the most important thing you must do is test, and keep testing. Don’t put one thing out there and accept that’s simply how it is. Experiment with what works best. Try one style cover for six months, and then replace it with another for the next six, and see which converts best.