Friday, April 13, 2012


I have a question for all authors and potential authors this morning: HOW MUCH IMPACT DOES A BOOK'S COVER HAVE ON SALES?

I'll cast my vote by saying, NOT VERY MUCH and I offer up covers of some very successful novels to make my point.

Saving Rachel by John Locke has sold millions of copies. Its cover is not unattractive; however, does the cover give you even the tiniest clue as to what's inside? Put another way, is this cover outstanding enough to have been responsible for sales in the millions?

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins ranks #3 on Amazon. Do you think the cover had anything to do with its sales? Are you kidding me? Looking at this cover, do you know what the book's about?

Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris ranks #13 on the Amazon bestsellers list, but what's wonderful about this cover?

Yet, first-time authors continue to argue that what's on the cover helps make the book. They also say if the cover is not outstanding, they will be ashamed of the book and not promote it. Are they correct? Will a cover alone make a novel a bestseller? Again, I defer to the above novels. Would you be ashamed to have written any of them? Isn't it what comes after the cover that really counts? Sour apples sometimes have wonderfully shiny skins.


Jessica Bell said...

Sure, you make a valid point. BUT. If a good cover is going to make the author feel better about their book, then I think it's worth the trouble of making a great cover. If an author is enthusiastic about their product, it's going to help them to promote it. And that can only help sales too, I imagine :o)

So ... getting back to the apples ... when you have guests and want to serve them some fruit, do you throw them an apple straight from the fruit bowl, or do you go to the trouble of cutting it up and organizing it nicely on a plate? hehe, yeah, I'm getting carried away here, but I think you get my drift! lol

Ampichellis Ebooks said...

Thanks for your comment, Jessica. May I add that a cover is just that--a cover. It's what's inside that counts.

If an author feels that his hard work has been ruined by a bad cover, then what's going to happen when this same author gets a bad review? Will she fold her tent and clink away, never to write again? Will he ask his publisher to pull the book?

A cover is just a cover and nothing more. A cover is just wrapping paper that contains an adventure. Readers don't pay for wrapping paper, they pay to be entertained for a few hours, to escape the hum-drum of everyday life. Again, I call your attention to those books linked to in this post. Did those covers sell the book, was it the writing, or the author's faith that he or she had produced a good reading experience. That's what's at issue here; not just a book's cover or an author vanity.

What's at stake is a book and its author's success, all of which are gauged buy book sales, not covers.

Keisha Martin said...

Although I am not agented nor published yet, when purchase books i do look at the covr to make my decision and rarely am I wrong, since I write YA mainly I do notice many covers that are similar for example TWILIGHT had a similar cover to C.L Lewis, not sure if that is what initially enticed the masses but a great cover does help, I get what your saying in regards to a cover is just a cover but at the end of it all only the reader makes the choice if a book is successful or not, but the publishers do have a few tricks to make them like it, and readers like me then hope for a great read, hope this makes sense, if not that's my take on it, great post.

Bill Cokas said...

Have to add that while a cover may not help a book, it can most certainly HURT a book's prospects. I'm thinking specifically of the proliferation of homemade ebook covers, many of which scream "amateur" and thus reflect poorly on both the author's judgment and perhaps on the actual writing inside. I for one am instantly leery of an ebook with a lame cover. I don't care if the cover does or doesn't give you an idea of what the book's about--but it needs to lend the book legitimacy.