SNM044: Book Covers that Sell

Look in Context

Nobody looks at a book on Amazon by itself.  Every time they see your book it will be in a grid or a list.  Do not decide if your book cover works without looking at the competition.

Take a screenshot of the page you want your book to appear on.  Then paste over your potential cover to see if it looks like it fits on the page.

Look Small

Most people will first see your cover as 1.5×2 inches.  Many covers look amazing large but when you shrink them down they turn muddy.  Shrink down the cover to see if the cover looks great tiny.

Color is Overrated

I make more than ninety percent of my book purchases directly through my kindle.  Not only do I see book covers small, they are black and white.

If you don’t test your colors in black and white, you could be losing more than half your sales.

To find out more listen to today’s episode….

Key Points:

  1. Check your cover in context
  2. Check your cover small
  3. Check your cover in black and white

Resources Mentioned:

Serve No Master on Amazon

Send in your questions to podcast [at] servenomaster [dot] com



Read Full Transcript

Design new book cover that sells on today's episode today's episode is brought you by digit save money without thinking about it get paid five dollars just for signing\digit today are you tired of dealing with your boss you feel underpaid and underappreciated if you want to make it online prior you start living your retirement dreams now you come to the right place welcome to serve no master pod how to open new revenue streams and make money while you sleep presented live from a tropical island in the South Pacific by best-selling author Jonathan green now your votes 99% of independent authors independent broadcasters people like us when we create our first product I see this with direct marketing Internet marketing products I see this with most of my competitors with their podcast cover and I seen on nearly every single book cover over and over again and it's at the point where I just have to say something most people have covers that are so terrible hurting their business so amateurish in its a well-known problem I was listening for the first time ever to a podcast by other authors a few days ago and it was one of the first things they started talking about how they couldn't understand and he couldn't believe it but no matter what they say what they do people just continue to put terrible covers on their books, to try in today's special episode together in our special time together to help you understand the elements of a great cover whatever direction you take your business understanding design a little bit is important this will become important as you design your website if you decide to do a podcast if you decide to sub pricing website there are some key elements and other people of different philosophies but I want to give you a very simple one very simple set of rules that if you follow them will put you on the path to good cover 99% of the buying decision is made based on the cover of your Kindle book on your Amazon book when people search to Amazon if they see anything about your cover they don't like don't trust don't respect don't connect with them move on you lose the sale the covers where they look click on the cover then see the rest of your book description they don't see reviews until they've chosen the cover they don't see your description to loosen the cover they don't see any of the other information all this he is cover book title author name a week cover is the number one reason books fail in the same principles apply two creating podcast covers creating book covers a new direct website whether doing 3D box shots how we are doing it I like to have a really simple set up please I find that most people can handle that I like text image text from top to bottom very simple we want to look at the readers experience most people design a cover based on something they like and I can look at most covers and tell you a lot about the person who designed it when I see a back cover I can usually tell you the gender and race of the person who designed the cover for some reason people do bad covers in a certain way and I can immediately tell a lot about the person who wrote the book who made the cover themselves now there are plenty of people who pay a lot of money for bad covers usually if you pay a couple hundred bucks for carveout you get a cover that looks professional and doesn't sell at least a look okay but if you get a cheap cover if you do it yourself it will look like garbage the first step to designing your cover your podcast image or box shots whatever your creative is whatever your creative element the presentation start by looking your competition be honest with yourself and be honest about your industry if you decide I don't care what other people do it I'm just gonna do it I like your book will fail if your approach to business an approach to this business any of the things I'm covering is you can do what you want it doesn't matter other people do it you don't care what the rest the market is doing your to do your own thing you will fail is nothing I can do to help you you've made an active decision to hurt your business and there's no way I can help someone who's actually hurting their own business pride and ego are business destroyers I have a friend I mentioned this before as a filing a dollar cover on his book the book does not sell if you change that cover the sales with double the reason this is on my mind's a couple of reasons covers have really come up for me lately I'm doing more and more paid advertising and in fact I'm going through brand-new really extensive author Facebook ads training is all about running paid advertising as an author and I've been run pay advertising for last month on another platform and with all my paid advertising one the walls I run into is with my use of romance books my romance cover very simple design I look at the top book in my space when my book came out I looked in a very popular book I look at the colors on the cover look to the design of the cover and I looked at the image so the cover my romance novel is a very muscular torso is no face no legs it's a really buff guy I found on a stock image site and I spent ages finding the perfect body I've probably spent two or three hours before I chose the picture that I wanted to use so that covers perfect in that space what I've discovered is that advertising platforms won't allow you to have a cover that's too steamy or too suggestive here's why when you buy ads on Facebook and most other platforms you can't control the age of the people who see your ad perfectly now Facebook does let you target demographics and sale I only want people 18 and up to see us it doesn't matter how many times have kids use their Facebook parents Facebook account of kids use their parents Facebook account kids been searching around or you accidentally use someone else's face became your house if I go for use my computer I don't notice it I sit down and click on Facebook it takes a second to realize what's going on so Facebook doesn't want to deal with a kid seeing a sexually suggestive romance book cover so they won't allow you to run ads with that type of cover that's one thing I've run into some in the process of creating a new cover for the group buckshot actually want to run traffic owner ads not to the first book in my 10 book series put into the collection about 10 books together so I need to create a new cover that's acceptable what's new set of guidelines by the initial guidelines of I need a really sexy cover of a sexy man with nice big muscles and big cabs but the second set of guidelines I want to build rent pay traffic so I have to make a shift these the two overarching principles that should drive you outside of romance you don't really have to think about advertising guidelines gets anything will be acceptable if it's acceptable in your space and be acceptable there's only with romance coverage of the secondary thought I have a book right now with a cover set very good I wrote a book you're having a year ago call about introversion called quiet the power of introverts in a loud world something like that at similar to another book called quiet the cover I chose is bright red which is good for drawing attention but there's something about the imagery this woman on the cover kind of McNish noise required noise with her finger and the book doesn't sell very well I've known I needed to change the cover for ages I haven't done it I found this are the process last weeks have been going through and redoing a ton of covers this month the cover doesn't work because of the picture the red is too much of a stop color this particular shade of red and the woman's face it doesn't quite fit the feeling of the book what you want to suggest is like a quiet little secret so the real cover I would want is like a cheeky smile or something like that some change in the image and I have the new cover done minutes week in fact I just got the new cover designed the first design done so when you're designing a cover we have title image and then author name below and you can switch off the name and title have author name of the top 10 at the bottom if you want if you are a more well-known author but if you're not famous it's been a new title at the top the first thing to think about is colors your cover should only have four colors black white dark and light color you want hi color contrast this means colors that are very different you don't want to have dark blue and very dark blues are two main colors sometimes you have a cover that looks amazing so nice and dark but the colors are very similar and when you look at the image in black and why it doesn't work anymore Amazon sells at least half of the books in black and white so if your book only looks good in color but doesn't look at a black-and-white level problem if you look at the cover breaking orbit the original design the first design I had looked amazing in color and black-and-white it was and is good so I actually have a cover that looks okay in color but even better in black and white I made a change to make it fit so remember the way your audience buys we want to have high contrast ratio with their colors so that in color and black-and-white your product will look amazing you'll notice that I use certain colors on all my covers are certain colors I love use electric purple electric blue really bright colors this area very warm oranges draw a lot of attention to the eye so go into your category look at the top 10 books there and then see how you can be 90% the same as step one you want to be just like the other books as much as you can so your book makes sense if you're in a category and there are 10 bestsellers all 10 bestsellers have a picture of an astronaut or spacesuit on the front you need to have asked on the cover of your book don't try and reinvent the wheel I see it so often were people cheap out to find the cover and the cheap out on the image or images can cost you 3 to 5 dollars and in the cover design will be another 3 to 5 dollars if you can't afford to invest $10 and the cover of your book when you launch your book and you make your first $10 you have to spend that money on getting a better cover or you will never do well there are certain colors that you should never use on your color one of them is neon yellow Netherlands neon green anything neon is really really bad if you don't know the difference in electric purple and neon purple because this is a podcast and audio only go to Google and type in the two different terms there's no excuse go to any search engine and type in electric purple and then type in neon purple neon colors are bad electric colors are good electric colors pop out from the page but they also look good in black and white neon colors look like garbage every time I seen the uncreated and the cover I know as an independent author another book will fail there's no other way about it I see all the time I minute hunt of Facebook groups people show each other covers in charge of the new books the opinions and I can immediately tell as soon as I see a post I collect the cover note note that books Dr. do well and neon is when the big giveaways people don't understand when I say get attention to your book it does mean make a cover that sticks out but it does not mean using the on color it also does not mean use seven or eight different colors so begins to look like a kaleidoscope if you have too many prominent colors when you go to black-and-white it will just look great in a look to messy always check your cover in black and white and with your image redesign look at what the people around you are doing this will give you a feel and it's better to have oh really average cover that totally fits your space and totally looks professional and to have a cover that really stands out because it doesn't make sense the image itself needs to connect with the topic if the images to different if the idea is too much of a disconnect or too much of a joke you'll lose the audience and when I say too much of a joke sometimes we want to go a few steps beyond the idea last night I was working on an image for product about memory am improving your memory and I couldn't find a really good picture of a brain so then I thought hey what about just a picture of a RAM chip this is just for something internal this is for one of my product blueprints that I'll begin releasing next week to help people launch different types of products work in different types of small projects I began to do that and then I wanted to go down the path that I thought I wouldn't be funny to have a picture of someone in a computer store selling different parts and looks like you going and upgrade your computer then I remembered wait that's too far it's too many steps in the joke so people won't all get 90% of people might get it but if 10% of people don't get I lose 10% of my sales understanding your audience understanding how they buy things is very important I know that not everyone will get a joke like that it's too far even the RAM chip is almost too far I just really couldn't find a good picture that represented memory and I looked for quite a while might look again today and change it but we want our image to fit with breaking orbit something very similar happened in few read that book when it comes out I talked extensively about book covers and their breaking over is my entire book launch planets my books on my mind again the cover for that book I am is been asked on the cover I saw all the other books that do well in the space either pure text covers or they have a spaceship it looks like a pencil those of the two things you see I did one have a special pencil but I like the idea of space a target idea for the color breaking orbit and one of the images one of my final three images was an astronaut with an electric purple background a beautiful image a really beautiful image flying towards you the problems with this images number one is flying towards you and number two he's not moving up there's no feeling of him breaking orbit I also look at some pictures of assets other planets restaurants kind of space bed and I realize none of those are to work the astronaut one with electric purple backrub because it was a bright color I like that July to my attention only the final decision and I say you know what this cover it's the symbol of the image doesn't make enough sense to people will people see a picture of an Astra understand breaking orbit and then think it's a book about writing books but cannot know people would see that and think it's a sequel to the book the Martian they think it's a science fiction book so your imagery can make people think your books about a different topic color is important but so is subject matter whatever category are in your Kolber should match your cover image make sense keep that in mind as you make a decision I see everyone romance has either a topless guy a man and a woman or a guy in a suit like and I see the texting and he can't see his face those of the really common images so people can still take that subject matter and get it wrong you have to really think about the person on the cover when you're using a person using a stock photo and make sure the way there standing together fits make sure their positioning fits in general with romance you don't want to show the persons face on the converse of the person reading the book and imagines them so if I see a romance cover and I can see the guys face it's a high risk decision now you can do if you do it right this is the area where someone is very good it covers can get away with having the face if you're just starting out don't do it it's an advance move that you have to be advanced to accomplish so when you're copping other people sometimes it's better to copy the middle-of-the-road because it's easier to get right this is a very creative process and I can't give you perfect advising is give you really good guidelines to follow as your beginning follow my coloration ideas make sure you check for black-and-white on the process of getting a cover design is very simple I go through three phases once I've decided on my cover the first phase is to pick the image so I picked the image in one of the cover so right now I replacing the cover for quiet replacing a cover for my introvert so last week I was looking for an image that was better I found by looking for pictures of spies I found a picture of a woman spy kind of whispering with a finger over her mouth like she looks like a spine she looks like be quiet because I got a really awesome secret as opposed to be quiet because I'm nervous and that's what I want my cover to express the positive aspect of quiet so I found this image but the colors on its tank colors were okay most vector images in most drawings that you can buy online from stock image sites and I'll give you link to couples document sites I use in the show notes there in pastels I hated but for some reason all designs are always pastel the reason they do that is pastel colors are inoffensive and most people will by that most people prefer that for their boring business websites and pastels are fine for internal stuff but when you want to make cover that pop when you want your cover stand out from the crowd you want right so I grabbed that cover in this second step once you have the subject is color so I then hired a designer on fiber whose done work for me in the past it's action the same person who did this for me was to remaster the book and I said fix these colors this image stinks the drawing is great but the colors do not pop and so now spy is wearing bright purple and there's a bright Panko magenta background a really great magenta the same magenta that appears to cover some master so now I have an image that has great subject matter and then I change the colors to make a pot if use a photograph it's harder to change the colors both vector images and drawings change in the colorations not too hard and get someone a fire to do their tons of Photoshop people and if you go to Photoshop yourself maybe you can do yourself once I go to the color phase and I only do the coloration phase about what I do 10 books you always have to do it some I can often find a great cover image that has the right colors it's only once in a while that you need to redo the colors but that's what I do to get the perfect cover to have done for two books recently once you have that perfect image then either fiber and higher when the designers I like use-e-book cover designer and find one you like during this process there are a couple very very important things number one find to books in your category that are selling well the mistake people make when sending information to the designer is to point to books they like every week coaching stood in Oregon email or on one of my webinars someone points me to a book cover the and or book to the think is doing really really well and they say I love this booklet, he reviews it has look at the school cover and then I look in the book is selling 1 to 2 copies a month books making the seven dollars month check the book ranking for you decide if it's doing well I have seen books with over thousand reviews that are making a money books die if you don't maintain them to maintain momentum that could happen to go to your category and find two books that are selling really well and making a lot of money and that's the cover design that's what you want to model your designer is going to model a little bit of how those designs are colored and also the font which is more important anything else it's very hard for me to describe good and bad fonts I wish that I could not a typographer's basecoat a technologist and I'm sure just the correct word but there are book cover fonts that work and there's only about 10 and there are thousands of book cover font to look like garbage anything cursive on the cover is probably terrible if you have a cursive style text on the cover of your book is a 99% chance you made a horrible mistake cursive is hard to read when he gets really small and very few successful books the history of all books have had cursive writing in the cover you'll never see it with the traditionally published book yes we are bypassing nutritional publishing route but we don't want to completely ignore thousands or hundreds of years of research and millions of dollars in marketing research so I look at a really good cover and I know I want a similar font this is why like to hire someone else to handle the cover to make sure I don't make a fun mistake if your font is 90% the same people can field a little bit and it can hurt your sales much better to just get a professional and this is why I book cover designers and most my designer charging five and $20 similar price and fiber of change recently used all be five dollars again this is a worthy investment so at the top end of the range if you really spent and go hogwild your cover can cost $30.03 to five bucks for the image five dollars to get the color fixed $20 for really top-of-the-line designer and usually advising $20 in hiring three designers in comparing their work I usually don't hire someone who is $20 for the one design it does cost a little money to get a great book cover if you design the cover yourself even if your graphic designer your book probably terrible does it has nothing to do with Photoshop ability graphics ability that's not what is this is this is designing book covers that sell it's a very specific skill creativity and being good with Photoshop only five or 10% of it now the designers I use if you look at their portfolios there are a lot of bad covers there unfortunately but most of the back covers their catalogs are because the people requested by cover I look for that some designers all of the covers are bad I can tell it's a bad designer some designers have a few really amazing covers and tons of bad ones and I can look at the imagery and see a lot about the person who ordering some person chose a back cover persons know they're doing person requested a terrible cover and the designer does what the first hard and wants at the end of the day a pencil and five dollars they're not to tell you if you're doing it wrong just can take your money do you want to can give you what you want so you want to show two books similar years and say these two books are really well I want my coverage looks similar to theirs I usually say it make a similar there's been a little brighter little bit more popping a little more exciting color when you follow this pattern you'll end up with a cover that looks professional has the correct fonts fits into your space and is bright most people's first experience with your cover will be at 0.5 x 2" that's the size when someone does an Amazon searcher goes to the seven categories that's the size of the book cover that they see on my Kindle it's even smaller I do 90 to 99% of my book acquiring via my Kindle not the Amazon website I see a color I see the cover for the first time in black and white in a very small you need to test those things some people want to have three or four really cool images on the cover guess what can't tell DR when he gets really small gets all muddled it's too much information to small space something might look great at 6 x 9" and it will in garbage and 0.5 x 2" I mentioned before that the same principles apply to product mugshots and podcasts I don't want you to think I forgot you most podcasts designs are garbage if you look at podcast covers out there on Amazon on iTunes you'll notice you often can't tell what the podcast is about and the covers off and look amateurish black and white is not as important for podcasts but it's still worth keeping in mind it's always worth double checking and your podcasts cover you want to think three things number one can people tell immediately what this podcast is about number two does this image look good really really small number three will this image capture attention on the iTunes page if you go to a podcast category in iTunes it'll show you 20 3040 of the shots of the podcast image in a big spread you have this creative all these different covers in your scanning through will your cover catch the eye draw attention the cover for my podcast when you're listening to I spent ages picking the perfect color it's a very specific shade of aquamarine blue green I even know the hexadecimal code is 134E5E even know the excess liquid is the only color a note for I tested a similar variation with electric purple of the same cover but it sent the wrong message of true attention but it didn't match my messaging the color came across to female and to it just didn't seem professional in the looks great in my book covers the purple color usually used it look right for podcast cover I tested a lot of variations many variations and in fact I used three or four different podcast cover designers to get a lump wide spectrum of options in one of the designers was terrible than the second one was terrible and the other two did pretty good into the final two I began to test different designs podcast covers often are either too hard to read or they're too busy that's most common mistake people shrivel to see from a distance when it's 1" x 1" or 2" x 2" really smaller screen or a smaller phone what the podcast is about if it's a health podcast if you have a picture of an apple or stethoscope something like that let you know it's medical or healthy if it's an excess podcasts most this Lexus podcast temperature weight what a lot of people do what a lot of new podcast people doing the same thing for new authors we look at someone really successful I could easily go and look at the Joe Rogan podcast and as I do a cover just like his guess what he's famous I'm not if you are not famous don't replicate a famous person I am successful but not famous person so I model people that are doing well but no knows who they are people don't listen's podcast because many people listens podcast because of the brand name and because of the topic be honest with yourself you're not famous if you are use of podcasts I'm very flattered but most likely are not your regular person just like me try make a living just like me so you cover your image for your podcast should be very clear about your topic it should pop up from the page and she readable small I'm in some groups for people who do podcasts I went to some training in my podcast people poster cover sometimes and I've seen where people have a terrible cover total garbage I can tell you right away won't sell all the principles for Kindle covers an inlet covers the same for podcast covers in a sea cover the Temecula well I love it that so great I don't know what to do because Evan Mickens person feel good if I say something than Eric you're so mean it becomes about emotion ego and I hate that if someone tells you they like your cover they think it looks fun their advice is not very valuable what you want are people who look at your cover compared to other covers and say this will sell or this will draw attention or this works in your category your cover will never be seen in isolation will always be seen with other covers around you have to look at your thing in the crowd when the police arrest a criminal they put them in a room with five other people to look like them and then have the witness say which one it is apt to do a lineup without a lineup you can't use the identification court because it's meaningless saying that's the criminal when you have nothing compared to is worthless I love that cover with nothing compared to is garbage if you want to send your cover two people to test you can do my friend did this and I was brewing when he was sending the attached cover he took a screenshot of his category in Amazon and he placed his cover image over the top of one of the competitors so which is hidden on the page is and what you think so I looked at it in context this is a brilliant move and exactly what you should be doing happy look your cover contacts how does your cover looks small how does your cover look from a distance by cover looked amazing big Mike when my older designs or pocket cover but small euchre motels going on a 2 inch information my cover has title a picture of me on the side and then three where tagline below it by member correctly I hope I'm right that the semi variations but in the bottom section words that green is a band of green and there's nothing there to empty space originally I filled that I tried putting text there other images there a tested putting a palm tree in the front and book Mori Lindy and they all made the cover look worse they look cool bag and we made it small you couldn't tell is going on a more than image became cluttered so when you're designing your product shots when you design your covers keep these ideas in mind look at what other people are doing and be similar once you're very similar then stand out by being 5 to 10% difference in the 5 to 10% she come from the colors you choose choose colors that are bright that are inviting that fit your space annual do really really well the cover is the most important part of the entire project that's why this is one of the longest episodes of ever recorded and I didn't realize till just now that I gone so far over but this information is crucial with your product shots with your cover shots with your podcast shots it's really can affect your revenue streams if you make a mistake as always and a several people discover last week you can email me essentials in the podcast and I'll reply just last week three different people email me more shocked when I replied and I love that I love connecting with people so if you have a cover you can post it on my Facebook page that's the best place to do that so we can get group feedback with it for podcast cover book cover three products or any of those things I'll gladly take a look at it if you post one of the page I then recommending sending a follow-up email to me to let me know don't draw attention to and I'll even mention it to other people so more people see it and we can really have some solid be back for you but I always glad to help people out people to reach out to me I return the favor thank you so much… Episode I really hope that you connect with some of this information and realized that designing your cover correctly can lead to massive boost in your revenue thank you for listening to this week's episode serve no master make sure you subscribe so you never miss another episode will be back tomorrow with more tips and tactics on how to restate that rat race it over to serve no now for your chance to win a free copy of Jonathan's bestseller serve no master all you have to do is leave a five-star review of this podcast see you tomorrow thank you for listening this episode of the servo master podcast doing me on my Facebook\serve no master

Jonathan Green

Living the dream on a tropical island, Jonathan is the author of Serve No Master and the host of the Serve No Master Podcast.

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