When Does Changing Book Covers Make Sense?

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Imposter

Registered
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
25
Reaction score
2
Location
Arkansas
I have a recently released (Nov 17th) novel (published by Wild Lark Books) that due to a restricted budget has a less than desirable book cover. There is more money available now to improve the cover, but my question is does it make sense to do it now given that the book has only been out less than 2 months? Opinions are most welcome!
 

Paul Lamb

Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 12, 2019
Messages
486
Reaction score
327
Location
American Midwest
Website
www.paullamb.wordpress.com
I have no education or experience with this aspect of publishing, but I can tell you that a poor cover can be an immediate turn off for me. If I don't know the author or the subject matter or such, and I see a cover that looks amateurish, some primal part of me imagines that the rest of the material is going to be sub-standard. I realize this is exactly what the old adage warns about (don't judge a book . . . ) but I think that's a real reaction among many potential readers.

If it bugs you, and you have the opportunity to fix it, and then you don't, you'll probably regret missing the chance. At least, I know I would.

Congrats on having the book published and out there!
 

Imposter

Registered
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
25
Reaction score
2
Location
Arkansas
Okay, I just looked at your book Knight Rise. If you're talking about the cover with the silhouettes then I don't think it looks amateurish. Not to my eye. But maybe you're referencing some other book.
That is the one. I am torn - a part of me feels like it looks amateurish because I did it myself and didn't use a professional. But additionally, there's a difference between not looking amateurish - and being appealing enough to pull readers in.
 

CWNitz

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 22, 2021
Messages
705
Reaction score
874
Location
France
Website
cnitzbooks.com
Disclaimer: I'm a web designer, which is only tangentially related to cover design.

Mostly, I think the issue with your cover is it doesn't fit your story. From your blurb, I got the impression you wrote a thriller with a lot of tension, and that's not reflected at all in the cover.

The colors are neutral and toned down, the typography is simple, the illustration is simply characters standing. There's no sense of threat. I don't get a "could cost them their lives" vibe from it.

The white background gives an amateurish impression to me. White covers are very uncommon, and you need a top-notch design to make them work. With the stock image silhouettes, it doesn't really work here.

If you have the money, I would definitely redo the cover, but maybe not right now. Most self-published writers see an uptick in sales when they publish a new book, so you could wait for your next book to republish this one with a new cover.

Edit: just noticed you made the cover yourself, so I wanted to add it's very good for amateur work. It looks very clean.
 

Imposter

Registered
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
25
Reaction score
2
Location
Arkansas
Disclaimer: I'm a web designer, which is only tangentially related to cover design.

Mostly, I think the issue with your cover is it doesn't fit your story. From your blurb, I got the impression you wrote a thriller with a lot of tension, and that's not reflected at all in the cover.

The colors are neutral and toned down, the typography is simple, the illustration is simply characters standing. There's no sense of threat. I don't get a "could cost them their lives" vibe from it.

The white background gives an amateurish impression to me. White covers are very uncommon, and you need a top-notch design to make them work. With the stock image silhouettes, it doesn't really work here.

If you have the money, I would definitely redo the cover, but maybe not right now. Most self-published writers see an uptick in sales when they publish a new book, so you could wait for your next book to republish this one with a new cover.

Edit: just noticed you made the cover yourself, so I wanted to add it's very good for amateur work. It looks very clean.
Thank you very much for the input! Very helpful.
 

Woollybear

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 27, 2017
Messages
6,530
Reaction score
3,578
Location
USA
Yep, I agree with the analysis above.

I might suggest retooling the blurb from time to time too. Those bullet points don't work as well for me as they used to, five or six years back.

As far as when to re-cover a book, my opinion is each cover will potentially grab a different set of readers. So I'd say when you feel the oomph of your release is losing steam, that's the time to think about what to try next. You have a lot of options though, which include promotions and ads and signings and so on.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Imposter

Woollybear

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 27, 2017
Messages
6,530
Reaction score
3,578
Location
USA
Oh also--check out Indie Cover Project on facebook. There's a guy posting today about improving homemade covers in a course he teaches, and he's soliciting examples.

At the end of the course the improved covers are offered back to the creators.
 
  • Wow
Reactions: Imposter

Holly Green

bug-magnet
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
312
Reaction score
342
Website
pinholesinthesky.blogspot.com
If it bugs you, and you have the opportunity to fix it, and then you don't, you'll probably regret missing the chance. At least, I know I would.
This.

I had planned to redo some of my covers, but I can't now. And it bugs me. Not a big deal in the scheme of things, but still...

@Imposter, I guess you have to ask yourself how much would it bug you if you could never change it?

Congratulations on your publication!
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Imposter

bunny hugger

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 24, 2022
Messages
72
Reaction score
62
I think if the current cover is flawed, any time is a good time to replace it