JM Williams

A home for all things fantasy and sci-fi.

SHARE: Book Cover Psychology


Book covers have been a recurring issue for me as of late. I know, right? Who’d think authors have to worry about covers and such.

I’ve engaged with two small publishers for my fantasy manuscript In the Valley of Magic, and covers have been part of both debates. In the end, I had to pull back on both offers as I was unsure I would get a cover I could stand behind.

A book’s cover is perhaps the most important factor for market success. This is likely only truer today than ever before. When there were only print bookstores, a reader always had an easy chance to look inside a book when deciding whether to buy or not. These days, the book cover is likely the only thing that a reader will see–and perhaps a blurb, which is also part of the cover–before making a final decision. Yes, Amazon and other stores have “look inside” functions, but how often are those used? Worse, your book might often appear side-by-side with other works in a thumbnail gallery, where it is only your front cover image that sets you apart.

The need for a great cover cannot be overstated. To that end, I’d like to share an article that came to me through Draft2Digital, which I used to publish The Adventures of Iric on non-Amazon retailers. The article has some great points on how to design attractive covers. These tips are not only useful for designers, but for authors as well. I have previously written about how important it is for authors to be involved in the cover design process. To do this, you should have some sense of what makes for a good cover.

Check out the article and tell me what you think about the cover design process.


The Psychology of a Good Book Cover

Covers are the first bit of customer-facing marketing that your reader will ever see. They’re a shortcut—telling the reader in shorthand that they’ll like this book, that it’s in the genre they love to read, and that the person who wrote it is someone they can trust with their valuable (often limited) reading time. That’s a lot of information to pack into one image, and still make it effective. So what’s the secret psychology behind choosing a good cover?

And choosing … there’s a reason we’re describing covers as a choice the author makes, rather than harping on the idea of do-it-yourself versus hire-someone cover design… READ MORE

I’m getting ready to send out my next newsletter in the coming weeks. I will be including an exclusive video of myself, talking Iric and future projects, as well as the usual publication highlight and writing tips. If you’d like to see all that, and be part of the “cool” crowd, you can sign up to join the RABBLE on the right side of the page!

2 Responses to SHARE: Book Cover Psychology

  1. This is really insightful, especially now that I’m actually working on getting published myself (all other times were anthologies were the publisher chose the cover etc). I read both yours and the linked article and I think we do a lot of rookie mistakes where we think “Yeah this is an amazing cover.” without considering over aspects of the whole exercise. Such as the “thumbnail” or how people generally read text (Z or F) etc.

    Thanks for this man. Really appreciate it.

    • JM Williams

      No problem. I don’t think the importance of the thumbnail can be overstated. I’ve been thinking about it as I watch the way I browse. It’s all thumbnails (and prices). By the time I’m looking at a full size cover, I’ve almost made my decision to buy.

Join the Discussion!

Buy the Book!  



Welcome to the Rabble! Thank you for your                               support. Here's the first exclusive: FREE STORY!

%d bloggers like this: