First Impressions are Important

When browsing the shelves in a library or bookstore, often only the spine of a book is immediately visible, so the title and name of the author make the first impression. However, with online shopping, the cover is the first impression a reader has of your book.

With this in mind, I read all the advice I can find about cover design. Much of it is duplicated, but a surprising amount of the available advice is actually contradictory. While most experts recommend matching your cover style to your genre, using strong contrast and emotive graphics, limiting your fonts, etc., some recommend including a person while others strongly advise against it. I’ve read advice saying not to use a close-up face, and others recommending the use of eyes to grab readers’ attention. This can leave beginning cover designers scratching their heads. Considering that not all “experts” make the distinction between fiction and non-fiction covers, it’s no wonder authors become confused.

However, absolutely all cover advice begins with a warning not to try to design your own, unless you are a design professional. Nevertheless, the reality is that many indie authors cannot afford to hire a professional designer, resulting in a lot of amateur efforts showing up on distributor’s websites.

My first book was published with no thought to ever writing another, but it grew into a series. A second series followed, and I am now working on the first book of a third series with future plans to add to the first two series. Over the years, I have learned it is important for my readers to be able to recognize my books by their cover style without seeing my name on the spine and few years ago I redesigned the covers so each book in a series was similar, but there is still no continuity between the series. I’m now in the process of remedying the situation, with a goal of replacing all the covers during 2017. It’s a huge job, but one which could potentially have a real impact on sales of my books.

One of the greatest blessings in the current eBook and POD publishing world is the opportunity to change out the properties of our books.

  • Was the first book poorly edited? Upload a new interior file.

  • Are your keywords and description weak? Change them.

  • Are your covers failing to make a good first impression? Redesign them.

The working cover for my current Work in Progress is serving as the template for the rest of my cover revisions, at least for now. In the future, I may decide to change them all again, or if I’m able to afford it, I may hire a “real” designer, who know? That’s the beauty of being an indie author today.

Below you can see what I’m working on.

Using the Mrs.Thistlethwaite style, this is how my earlier book, Vain Pursuits, may look.


WIP cover mock up
Vain Pursuit new style



I would love to hear your opinions on these work files. They will probably morph through many iterations before publication.

Your comment may impact the final versions.



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