Book Covers and Your Social Media Audience: Is Your Design Holding You Back?
Are your readers finding you online? Chances are, if you have social media accounts as an author (Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads are a few), the answer is yes. How is your reader engagement on these crucial marketing platforms? Are you getting readers talking about your books? Are they retweeting your new releases? Are they asking when your next book is coming out? If you’re struggling with reader engagement on social media, there’s something worth looking at, an item that can drastically affect the way that readers view your work and you as an author—it’s your book cover.
Whether you have only written a single book or you’re the author of an epic series, your book cover is your work’s first impression. Smart marketing strategy includes making sure that your brand is established starting with the first book you write. Many readers won’t take a chance on a book with a poorly designed cover, assuming the work inside has been given the same level of care. If a reader bypasses your book on retail platforms such as Amazon, will they be likely to seek you out on social media? Likewise, if a reader encounters a tweet or Facebook post with a book cover that doesn’t represent the true quality of your work, are they likely to click, share, or engage with you? Likely not.
Let’s take a look at an example of how a well-designed book cover can make for a more striking social media advertising element than a less-impactful one.
The cover on the left doesn’t tell the reader much about what genre or even mood the author is going for, has poor font choice, uses flat stock art that doesn’t evoke a mood or an emotional response in your potential reader, and doesn’t seem to be a good representation of professional work. The cover on the right (for the same title) tells the reader much about the story at a glance—the colors, fonts, and logo indicate a modern romance/drama. The fonts and color palettes can be mimicked across books for a well-branded series look. Let’s see that series look on a tweet:
As you can see, professional design starts improving your brand at the product level—think of your cover as your book’s packaging. In today’s market, you want your book cover to step up and capture a reader’s attention! You want it to entice a reader with the promise of something good inside so that they buy your book. You want readers to take you seriously. This is especially important on social media, as tweets and Facebook posts have short lifespans. According to socialmediadelivered.com, the average life of a tweet is just eighteen minutes! On Facebook, you do have a bit more time, but the average Facebook post reaches 75 percent of its total audience in the first five hours. The clock starts ticking when you hit that post button! You want your book cover to spur multiple retweets and shares, which multiplies your original content’s lifespan and reach.
Your readers are online, and they are savvy. Potential follows on social media will assign a higher perceived value to authors who put in the time and effort to present themselves and their books professionally. Avid readers can be some of the most involved fans you’ll ever meet—they will champion an author whom they love and help you grow your readership with supportive blog posts, reviews, and word of mouth, and that kind of growth—which doesn’t cost an author a dime—is a priceless thing. But don’t make it hard for your readers to get into your work by having to push past a cover design that doesn’t serve your brand well.
As hard a truth as it may sound, books are often judged by their covers. Make sure yours says, “Come over here and look inside!”
Ginny Glass is a graphic designer and editor with more than eight years of experience running her own freelance design, editing, and author-services businesses. She writes contemporary romance, published with Harlequin's digital-first imprint, Carina Press. You can find out more at wordsugardesigns.com, or follow her on Twitter @WordSugarDesign.