Readers tend to have certain expectations of what a book cover should look like for a particular genre, whether it be a couple on a romance novel, blood on a murder mystery book, dragons on fantasy fiction, etc. People look for elemental clues on the cover to determine which type of book it is and whether they want to read it.
But what if a novel spans multiple genres? How can the cover capture the interest of readers of each genre?
One author created a PickFu poll to see how a target audience would react to two different covers for a fantasy fiction novel about time travel that also includes an element of romance.
“You don’t seem that short,” people often tell author Seth Ulinski.
At 5’7″, Seth is three inches below average height. In the introduction to his book Amazing Heights: How Short Guys Stand Tall, he jokes that perhaps he could chalk it up to “really” being 5’7″ and a half. But it’s more than that: an attitude. A posture. A frame of mind. And his book serves as a guide for the estimated 60 million other men in the “short guy fraternity” to gain the same confidence.
“I decided to write the book after I noted that there were limited resources addressing the unique challenges of the not-so-tall,” Seth said. The book “examines society’s height bias and provides ways for readers to build their presence,” including how to shop for height-maximizing clothes, career tips, and advice on dating.
Even the smallest tweaks on the design of a book cover can have a positive impact on book sales. One recent PickFu poll demonstrates how photo editing and object placement can significantly alter the reactions of readers.
Author Amber Zygutis asked the test panel participants which cover they preferred for her novelThe Siren’s Violin. Option A presents a dark red-haired woman staring at readers with alarming, orange-colored eyes. Option B features an underwater shot of a red-haired woman with eyes closed and her head turned to the side. Can you guess which one won?
Editor’s Note: Thanks to Caleb Kaiser at Reedsy.com for contributing the following guest post.
The publishing world earned its reputation for being opaque. If you want even basic data points, like book sales for a given title, you’re forced to cobble together numbers from a variety of sources — Nielsen BookScan, Amazon rankings, etc — just to get a vague estimate.
If you’re an author interested in taking a more analytical approach to your writing and/or publishing, you should know a handful of insights. We’ve listed our top three below, starting with… … Continue reading
A crime novelist used PickFu to test two cover designs for his book Whiskey Devils. The respondent pool consisted of 50 people drawn from the general population. Option A featured an orange backdrop with bullet holes and gunsmoke and an evocative illustration of a hand transforming into a gun. Option B featured a subdued and elegant photograph of two shot glasses filled with whiskey on a dimly lit bar top. The publisher asked two questions of respondents: “Which cover is more enticing and eye-catching for a crime novel? Which makes you want to read further?”
The design of a book cover has a huge influence on whether a reader chooses to purchase that book. Therefore, it’s important for authors and publishers to be conscious of a reader’s perception of your cover design.
Take, for example, this PickFu poll of two different book cover designs.
Option A features one person dragging a body through a grove of palm trees, silhouetted against a blue, twilight sky. Option B features a simple silhouette of a cat against a red background. Can you guess which one won?