The marketing friendliness of a book

The book Defenders of the Light_by MaryDes

What is a marketing friendly book?

As an author and publisher, it is important to have a marketing friendly design. But what is this exactly?

Often authors want to have a book cover design that is beautiful and meets their expectations. Something that touch their heart. Most of the authors and readers don’t see a cover as a marketing tool.
However, according the “Cover Matters Survey” (Book Smugglers Publishing) 79% of the readers says covers do play a decisive role in their decision to purchase a book. So, a book cover should very well be a marketing tool, and publishers do need to pay attention to this. Even inform their authors about this importance. Knowing this, how should a marketing friendly cover design look like?


  1. A book cover must reflect the content of the book.

Once I was in a book fair talking to authors giving an autograph session. One of them was presenting her book which had a white cover with an abstract painting on it. When I asked her why she had used this design for her cover, she said proudly: “I have created it myself. It refers to something in the book, but does not reveal anything of the story, so people will be curious.”
Visitors of the book fair were not that curious. While I was there nobody bought her book, nor did they asked her autograph and she had still a pile of books on the table.

62% of the people who took the survey said: “Covers are the artistic representation of the book. They should be accurately representative of a book’s genre, tone, and/or characters.”

Therefore, it is not wise to have an abstract cover design or one with only typography. Yes, it can be very artistic, a special kind of art even, but it won’t sell your book. Unless the content of your book requires something like this, but that will rarely be the case.

I often compare this to the fashion industry. When fashion designers present their collection, you are sometimes surprised by the extravagant models on the catwalk; and you wonder who is wearing something like this. That’s why these fashion houses have in their stores a more portable collection available.

A cover needs to reflect the content of the book. That is what most readers expect from a book cover design and that is what you need to give them.


  1. A book cover must be eye-catching

Your design must ensure that a potential reader investigates the book on hand and in detail. This can be achieved by creating a special atmosphere, some eye-catching details and special effects. When your audience is wondering, “What’s this?”, then you’re good.


  1. A book cover must contain special elements for marketing

After the book is printed, you will promote it using posters, 3D mockups and banners for social media, and more. It is important that a book cover design has certain elements in it, related to the story, which can be enlarged and used in backgrounds of promotional material, so they can make the book even better noticeable. Although it greatly increases the visibility of your book, this important part is often neglected by other designers.


  1. A book cover must have a strong typography

It is no problem to use a special font, if needed to reflect the atmosphere, as long as title and authors name are readable at a glance. Especially when a design is reduced to thumbnail. Of course a designer needs to consider many rules when it comes to fonts, but readability when downsized is the most important one for marketing purposes. Online bookstores use thumbnails and you will probably also use it on your own website.


  1. Branding

If a book is part of a series, it is important to have some consistency in its cover design. It can be a returning element, logo, or even part of a design.


The marketing friendliness of a book has a huge impact on sales. Therefore, it should not be ignored. While many publishers try to give their authors the cover designs they ask, it is important to emphasize the importance of a well thought out design.

MaryDes creates hundreds of book covers a year, for many publishers. We know so well from experience how a book cover should look.

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