15 thoughts on “Guest post: The Rules for Your Self-Published Book-Cover by Lorraine Jenkin

  1. Ian Miller says:

    What interested me was the comment, it should look like the others in the genre. The question is, why? I have always considered, especially for ebooks, the major feature of the cover is to grab attention, in a good way, of course. Accordingly, something different that stands out from the rest in the Amazon lists would seem to me to be desirable. Looking the same means the random scan will overlook it.


    • lorrainejenkin says:

      Hi – I think it’s that thing of making it look similar enough so that people know it’s of the genre. As an extreme end to prove my point, if my book aimed for the women’s contemporary fiction market had a soldier in fatigues, a black background and block yellow printing, it would be passed over by someone looking for a light “female” read. I think the trick is that it needs to stand out within the safety of a genre. Also – I did do a lot of reading of what the experts do and compiled all their wisdom into rules that I used for my own! Hope this helps?


  2. Julia says:

    Very useful information here, thanks. I used to be a desk editor for a major publishing company and we had a team of folk working just on covers. That’s how important it is.


  3. Jane Risdon says:

    I applaud your research and success. Thanks for sharing with us and thanks for hosting Lorraine, Morgen. I am not too sure about looking like everything else in a genre. I can only go by my experience working on album/single and video covers and I would say that when marketing to a certain genre there are elements in the covers which ‘speak’ to a fan – perhaps the font style or the subject matter, but to be different is the aim – to stand out and shout ‘pick me up, look at me, read my blurb and buy my product.’ Being similar to anything else in amongst so many other ‘tins of baked bean,’ as I used to call album covers, is not good enough, especially when starting off. You must stand out. The cover needs to reflect the genre, the contents and the author. Image is important. To me a book cover is the same as an album over. It has to make someone ‘pick me up, read me.’ It has to speak to me, to make me want to pick it up and read it, and not the book by the writer on the same shelf. I am yet to achieve this for myself, but I live in hope that when the tem comes I will remember my ‘music’ head. Best wishes for your future success.


    • lorrainejenkin says:

      Yes, I agree that nobody wants to look like everything else in the crowd, but I think it’s important to be within that crowd where people are looking, not in the field next door. I think especially for beginners finding their way, it’s useful to take advice from the experts (not me – the people and publishing companies I got the information from in my research). As a writer, I want to stay true to my craft, but I do also want my books to be in the front of the shop where the customers who might want to buy them are looking: if we make them too obscure, they might be passed over by someone who doesn’t have time to delve deeper beyond that unusual cover.


      • Jane Risdon says:

        I do take your point and the POS positioning of a book is vital and if it is like music lots is paid by the record companies (publishers) to ensure that the product is placed in the most advantageous position possible to create awareness and escalate purchases. I think I was also making that point too. It is great exchanging like this, thanks so much for hopping in and for your reply. I do wish you lots of success and I shall keep my eyes open for your books. Have fun with the covers. 🙂


  4. lorrainejenkin says:

    Thanks all – there are some really good clips on You Tube from the professionals (sorry, can’t remember which ones!) and they showed how they sorted some of what turned out to be best sellers today. Definately worth a trawl if anyone’s at that point in their self-publishing.


  5. Veronica Bale says:

    Not sure if this has been said already or not, but I’ve had great success working with independent cover artists. Cover art today is so affordable, and there are so many talented individuals out there that will do a professional looking cover for a really affordable price. Two I use are Elaina Lee of For the Muse Designs and Viola Estrella of Estrella Cover Art. You can get custom made cover art for as little as $30, even less if you go with a premade cover that suits your book. You are so right, covers make all the difference, so make sure you have a cover that’s worthy of your book.


    • lorrainejenkin says:

      Hi Veronica – I think that’s important – it’s not necessarily as daunting as we think it might be. Having a “pre-made” cover has it’s advantages as it’s quite difficult to envision what you want from a blank sheet, but we can all have opinions on something in front of us. I think it’s just essential not to say”oh, that”ll do because the writing’s what it’s about”. People won’t bother to see the writing if they don’t like the cover.


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