What is the Most Important Function of a Book Cover

If you were to ask authors – What is the Most Important Function of a Book Cover? – you would get a wide variety of answers

Most of those would be wrong

The Book Cover has 1 Main Function before the reader has visited the Book Page, and it has 1 Main Function after the reader is on your book Page

The Most Important Function of a Book Cover BEFORE The Reader is on Your Book Page

Before the reader has gone to your book page i.e. when the reader first encounters your book on a search page, or on a bestseller listing, or anywhere on the Internet

  1. The Most Important and The ONLY Function of a Book Cover is To Get the Reader to Click on the Book and Visit the Book Page

That’s it. That is the one and only critical function of your book cover – it must COMPEL the reader to click on the book cover and visit the book page

This requires a few very critical things to ensure IT CATCHES THE EYE and IT COMPELS READERS TO CLICK ON IT

  1. Your book cover must catch the eye – it must literally and figuratively outshine the other book covers. It must attract the eye and compel the reader to focus on it
  2. Your book cover must fit the book genre/category. Because if it does not meet the category then the reader will focus on it, and then get confused and look at something else
  3. If you are a brand name author and/or a very big author and/or a celebrity, then you must have your name large enough to see even in small thumbnail size. As your name alone is enough to get the reader to click on the cover
  4. If your book is part of a famous series or is famous or well known, then the book title must be large enough to see even in small thumbnail size. The book title alone will be enough to get the reader to click on the cover
  5. If you are not a brand name and the book is not famous, then you must have a very beautiful image and very beautiful font AND the book cover must be bright and eye catching
  6. Your book cover must compel the reader to click on it. This can be done by having a very beautiful image to convey quality (of the book), by having a very catchy title, by having a design very appropriate to the genre, by having a brand name author, by having a famous book series, and so forth. Remember, the REAL battle is to get the reader to click on the book cover and visit the book page
  7. Both aspects are critical – To Catch The Eye in a sea of books AND To Compel the Reader to actually click on the book cover

For authors who think picking a book cover is something they do to ‘make themselves happy’ or ‘show a scene from the book’, all of this should be an eye opener. The Cover is FOR READERS, it is not for you. The Cover is meant to GET READERS TO LOOK AT IT. The cover is meant to compel readers to CLICK ON IT

The Cover is a COMPOUND VERB – LOOK & CLICK. Let go of your own desires for what you want on the cover and focus on what will get readers to Notice It and then Click on It

The Most Important Function of a Book Cover AFTER The Reader is on Your Book Page

After the reader is on your book page, the function of the Book Cover changes dramatically

If you have a lot of good reviews, and if you have put the book in the right categories, The Book Cover has secondary importance –

  1. The reader is going to check that the book is in their genre of choice. Hopefully, you have selected the right book categories and your book description clearly states the main book category. Those are enough to reassure the reader that they have the right book
  2. The reader is going to check that the book is a quality book. The Reviews are the number one determinant of this. Second determinant of this is your book sample – it being well edited and free of errors is critical
  3. Secondary to the above two factors, the reader will look at the Level of Detail on your cover, and the Attention to Detail on your cover, and whether it fits the genre

Once the reader is on the book page, if you have good reviews and a well edited book sample, the Book Cover does not matter very much at all. Just make sure it has good attention to detail

If you do not have good reviews, or if you have no reviews, or if your book is in the wrong categories or in too many categories, then your Book Cover again becomes critical

  1. If there are no reviews, then your Book Cover must have incredible attention to detail and clarity. Readers will assume (whether rightly or wrongly) that your writing will have similar attention to detail and clarity
  2. If there are no reviews, then your Book Cover must be well thought out and must convey a strong impact. Readers will assume that your writing will be similarly well thought out and impactful
  3. Amazingly, a very well done Book Cover can overcome a lack of reviews
  4. Unfortunately, nothing can overcome a mistake in genre selection
  5. If the genres are wrong and confusing, then most probably the battle to get a sale is lost. However, if the Book Cover very clearly indicates genre, you might be able to salvage things and still get a sale – a minor chance, and a chance nonetheless

Please Note: You absolutely have to put your book in the right categories. Don’t try to game the system. don’t be careless. The biggest determinant of whether you get the sale or not will be – Is the Book in the Absolute Right Genre?

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