Cover Art Theory

Home / Cover Art Theory /

The job of any cover artist is to convey what your book is about – be it from a quick glance, a tiny image or your cover splashed on a billboard. It’s vital to convey the feel of the book, maybe even a character or two, but most importantly, play up to established expectations. Historical romances generally have sensual fonts and silken fabrics. The latest trend in paranormals is to have wicked body art on gorgeous male torsos. Notice all the hot females with weapons (swords or firearms) lately?

If your book have any of those elements, play them up to get the most exposure! We don’t want your book to look like everyone else – but at the same time, we want it to be identifiable by those readers who are looking for what you’re writing!

[frame_left][/frame_left]Should be an easy enough question to answer, right? But that answer suddenly becomes hard when you have a less then a second to show a potential reader what the book is about – and you have about an inch of space to make your point. Even the book detail page doesn’t give us a whole lot of real estate – so you have to be ruthless. Cut out everything that doesn’t convey the most impact – we want the most bang for your buck.

So what’s the book about? What’s the genre? Is is a genre that’s hot right now? If so, we need to capitalize on that. Male Male romance is a very popular genre right now – so a cover with two hot guys will immediately catch the attention of readers looking for it. A cover with a single hot guy will also be eye catching, but it doesn’t convey the best marketing tool you have in your disposal – an immediate peaque to the reader’s interest. And pique usually equals to click. And click – if your blurb is well written, if your excerpt is compelling, if the stars have aligned – may result in a buy.

This can also backfire – if your book is about vampires in a market up to it’s ears in vampires, what makes your book stand out? Fangs and blood just won’t cut it anymore – but talk dark and angsty just might:)

Of course, there are some authors who don’t need to do that – they can sell a book on the strength of their name alone. If that’s you – may I have your autograph?






[frame_left][/frame_left]I always ask for visual clues about a story – is it sad, is it funny, is it dark and noirish? Instead, I often get extremely detailed descriptions of the book characters without giving me an idea of how to emotionally connect to them.

The point of a cover is to do the exact same job of the book – to emotionally connect with readers. In case of a cover, that connection has to happen within a fraction of a second – a reader looking at a thumbnail view of a cover probably won’t notice if a heroine’s hair is light blonde vs honey blonde, but they will care if they see a light airy cover and are in a mood for a dark angsty tale. (I do love dark angsty tales – someone once referred to it as romangst – how cool is that?)

Actually scratch that – readers won’t care. They’ll simply pass over the book and look for something that visually appeals to whatever they are in the mood for. So aside from characters and symbolism and visual keywords, the best thing you can do for your cover artist – and your bottom line – is to give a great visual description of the emotional impact of your story.

How to get Started?

All our book cover packages include a consultation to find the best direction for your project, combining your vision with a visual marketing strategy.


"Fiona Jayde took the image I always had for my novel and made it come alive. It was perfect, along with the promotional items she created for me. I highly recommend this cover designer for your book needs. She was wonderful to work with, fast and efficient, and made sure I was a satisfied customer. I look forward to working with her again so he can design my next cover masterpiece!" Best Selling Author Sherry Ewing