The Importance of Book Covers


Today, I am going to take a few moments to make a sharp left turn from what I normally discuss to bring up the subject of book covers.

I am an extremely visual person. Book covers play a large role in the books I’ll actually buy unless I’m already familiar with the writer or the writer came with high recommendations from someone I trust. Book covers are often the first impression.

Book Publishers are aware of this, and use it to their advantage. This is the cause of much discontent among some authors, who have this grand vision for their book, but get a cover they didn’t expect or dislike.

Indie and Self-Published authors have the luxury of creating their own covers to suit their needs. However, I’ve found that these covers often fall short. The truth is, I’m often drawn to Big 6 published books because of their covers. Something about them — perhaps the years of experience manipulating my wallet — draws me to them.

But sometimes, a self-published or Indie author’s cover really, really takes me by surprise. In a pleasant way.

I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to one of those covers. The book is called Pecayune, and it is written by someone I’ve known for several years. Instead of mashing together a book cover on his own, he hired an artist to do his cover to match his book.

This is the result.

PIcayune by John DeJordy

This cover is a lot of things. It tells a story all on its own. It reveals some of the charm I admired about the Redwall books.

Because this is my opinion, I am not going to showcase any covers that I feel are on the other end of the spectrum. This is personal opinion, and what may be my garbage may be another’s gold. If you want to see bad covers, though, Amazon is but a click away. They aren’t hard to find.

My point is very simple: If you are an indie or self-published author, your cover will make or break out. It costs money, but invest in a good artist. It may be what stands between success and failure.


For those curious, this is how my attention is typically grabbed:


  1. Author (If known and liked, I often won’t bother with steps 2-5)
  2. Cover
  3. Title
  4. Back Description
  5. Random flipping to middle of book and reading half of a page.


If I make it through this five stage process, the book gets totted around the bookstore. I will compare it to other books I see and pick the ones I like best. Cover has broken quite a few ties for me.

They say, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’.

I say, “I judge a book by its cover because this is an item in my house, taking up my living space, that I will look at, read, handle, and enjoy for years to come.”

When it comes to cover, I want my money’s worth… and I am willing to dish out extra for a book that has an extra special cover.

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