Book covers are the first parts of books we notice. It is undeniable that our first impression of the book is based on how the book looks. Apart from the quality of paper, the cover of the book is crucial in forming this first impression. The colours that are used give us insight into what to expect. Typically, darker covers mean serious or fantasy books and lighter colours mean fluffy or romance books. Also, the protagonists of the novels are sometimes featured on the cover. With the Black Lives Matter movement and representation in novels being a much talked about issue, the colour, size etc of the protagonist also become important. But the main question that needs to be answered is – Will rebranding a book with different cover increase your sales? When and Why we need to make change in book cover?
Generally, art directors and their teams design book covers in a way that communicates the main themes of the story. Even though the plot might not be covertly included on the cover, you will generally find motifs and recurring ideas on it. Sometimes even the essence of the story may be communicated. The font is also crucial in altering our expectations and perceptions of what the novel entails.
Now the question is, how do you know you didn’t get a cover right? How do you know it’s time to rebrand? There could be several causes. If the reader misinterprets your title and buys the book thinking it’s going to deliver something different from what it actually does, there’s got to be a problem with its cover. Most genres have specific ‘feels’ to them that the book covers convey. If the reader thinks your book belongs to a different genre altogether, it’s probably because of the title.
Now coming to the real deal – will simply making change in book cover increase your sales? Yes, but with a catch. Suppose your book is already selling a decent amount of copies. However, the feedback you’re expecting doesn’t line up with your books, then . Like we said before, if your readers are disappointed in you, then it’s probably because your book cover advertises something it doesn’t sell. But if you’re books aren’t garnering much attention, just rebranding your book may not make as much of a difference as you want it to. Of course, it will entice some people into picking the book up, but it won’t be a dramatic change. You will require rebranding and heavy marketing in the latter case.
There are several tips to remember while rebranding a book if you want to be successful though. The first thing is, if you’re not a specialist or expert in the field, then find someone to do the job for you. Investing in a good graphic designer or cover designer whose work ethic and art you resonate with will have a huge payoff. The second thing is, know your target audience and what appeals to them and then design or make change in book cover in a way that matches with their likes and expectations.
This will require a detailed study of what has worked in the past with bestsellers in your genre and what hasn’t. Once you realise the colour palette and font sizes that have sold in the past, things are easier. You are in a better position to shortlist ones that fit in with your book thematically and generically. However, it’s important to avoid cliches, because you want to portray your book as unique and different from everyone else’s.
Another thing to remember is that it’s not just physical copies of books that sell today. From online shopping to e-books and kindles, there are a plethora of platforms that readers can choose from. So your book should be compatible with all formats – from thumbnails to web pages to actual physical books. Your title shouldn’t seem too small or your paintings mustn’t be indecipherable.
The last piece of advice we have is that you must be careful not to make your covers seem cluttered. If you put in a lot of things on your cover, it’s likely that your reader will perceive your book itself as messy. Plus, his limited attention span will be spoilt for choice and he will pay full attention to nothing in specific. Hence whatever message or emotion you’re trying to convey through your cover will never reach your reader.