Good Cover Design

Whether you are being published by a Major Publishing House, a  Partnership Publisher, a Self Publisher or even just a simple Vanity Press like Create Space or Lulu a good cover is your key to sales.

We live in a world of immediacy where TV programmes and films start with an explosion and then the words ‘Three Days Earlier…’ as we don’t seem to have the patience any more for slow starts or a steady build of action.

Bookstores are closing at an alarming rate and those that are left are concentrating more and more on the ‘Safe Bet’ authors like Stephen King, Dan Brown, Cookery Books or Celebrity nonsense. For these books the cover design can give expression to the designer as they do not need to sell the book. Jordon’s next book will sell (tragically) no matter what image the cover carries. Many a new writer makes the fatal mistake of trying to emulate the look of a successful author’s book. Remember, if your name won’t sell the book then the cover needs to!

First time authors have been completely squeezed out of the bookshops and are now finding great success in the online stores. If you have written a cookery book it is going to stand on the same virtual shelf as Jamie Oliver’s latest offering, that would never happen in a high street shop. That gives a tremendous boost but also a huge problem. The casual book-browser is now confronted with a page of thumbnail images which includes your book. The job of the cover here is to look good enough as a tiny image to encourage that all important click. Complicated images or detailed photographic covers are passed by in favour of stark iconic images.

These books were voted best new novelists by both The Guardian newspaper and the BBC.

Best Covers

Try going to Amazon and look at the Top 100 Books. Ignore cookery books and big name authors who will sell whatever the cover looks like. What’s left? Each time we have done this test we are presented with row upon row of stark iconic covers.

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For a prime example look at Starter for Ten by David Nichols. The first edition featured a complex cover difficult to see in thumbnail and the book lingered in the midlist.


When the cover was changed for the second edition sales went through the roof. The author’s next book, One Day then followed the same theme and is now a number one bestseller and a top grossing movie

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