The 3 most common mistakes on book covers

I know it sounds harsh, but there are a few mistakes on book covers that drive me up the wall. I adore book covers and never get tired of admiring them (and reaching out to feel the paper…) in bookstores, but every once in a while, I see a cover gone wrong.

So today let’s also talk about the ways book cover design can go awry, because I think we always have to edit out the bad before we can get to the good. (Can I get an amen from every writer who’s ever edited that terrible first draft?)

common mistakes on book covers

It’s a cold, hard truth of publishing that people judge a book by its cover. This is engraved on a tablet on a mountaintop somewhere in midtown Manhattan, where the other strictures of publishing are recorded, like, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s advance, and Thou shalt not order anything but a salad at an editor lunch, unless the other person does first, or you’re just really, really hungry and don’t care anymore. But yes, the cover is the first thing a reader will see of your work; it’s how they’ll judge your book; and it’s your most important marketing tool.

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3 Common Mistakes on Indie Book Covers


People judge books by their covers. This is the cold hard truth of publishing. A book cover is the very first thing a reader will see of your work, and so it’s incredibly important to get it just right.

Think of a book cover like the package of any other consumer good (and by “package” I mean the overall look or style of a product, not its container). A MacBook Pro might have a super-fast processor and long battery life, but it’s the elegant design that draws in most consumers. A BMW might have great horsepower and a fuel-efficient engine, but the sleek lines are what catches your eye on the road. In a crowded marketplace, looks matter.

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