Books really are judged by their covers
The English idiom, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” was introduced in a mid-1800s novel by George Elliot. One of the characters noted the beautiful binding on a particular book – Daniel Defoe’s The History of the Devil.
The phrase has come to mean one can’t judge the inside (usually referring to a person) by the outside, whether for good or bad.
However, that phrase doesn’t work well in the book industry, as books ARE judged by their covers. If a book cover doesn’t immediately gain the attention of a reader, he or she won’t even bother opening its pages.
According to publisher Tucker Max, real people use the following information to judge a book:
- Recommending Source
- Book Cover
Other items considered include endorsements, reviews, price, and the actual book text. But the book’s cover is one of the top items people use to make book-buying decisions.
Let’s test the books are judged by covers theory . . .
Look at the image above. The cover on the left is a cheesy cover made by one of those do-it-yourself cover creators. The one on the right was created by Book Marketing Graphics owner Linda Fulkerson.
Which book would YOU buy?
Many authors spend years writing and revising a book. They invest time, money, and energy on research, yet often when it comes down to developing the cover, their efforts stop, and they slap on something cheap and easy. (If you don’t believe me, browse through some of the books on Amazon.com.)
Almost every potential reader will judge whether or not to buy and read your book before they have read one single word inside the book. ~ Tucker Max
That statement places a LOT of responsibility on your book’s cover!
The problem with book covers . . .
The big problem independent publishers face when it comes to book covers is who to hire and, of course, cost. Professionally designed book covers are NOT cheap!
But when you compare sales of books with a poorly designed cover to those that look great, you can easily see that the real question when it comes to book design isn’t how much does it cost, but how much is it WORTH?
While a few authors have graphics design skills, most do not. Unless you are trained in design, DO NOT attempt to create your own book cover. As I’ve said in many marketing presentations, sometimes FREE costs too much!
If you can outsource only one step of your book’s production, hire a professional book cover designer. You won’t regret it! ~ Magnolia Media
That said, most of the independent authors I know have serious budget limitations, and book cover design can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars.
How much does the average book cover design cost?
I browsed the Internet, searching for costs of cover design, and I was amazed at how much many designers charge.
- eBook – front only – $490-800
- Soft cover – front/back/spine – $1775
- Hard cover – front/back/spine/dust jacket flaps – $2270-4000
I also ran across a few discount book cover sites that produce eBook covers for less than $300, but I couldn’t find a cover on those sites that I’d want on any of my books!
There’s no getting around the fact that you NEED a compelling cover to help sell your book. BUT, there are ways to buy a professionally designed book cover without taking out a second mortgage.
At Book Marketing Graphics, we offer three affordable – yet high-quality – book cover design packages. Each book cover design package comes with a high-resolution (300 DPI) extra large JPG image, plus a PDF of your book cover (front cover, and, if you buy the for print package, the full flat, too). You’ll also get an extra large JPG image of the book’s 3D mockup, plus two additional 3D mockups for use when promoting your book.