Marketers & Coffee – Book Cover Mastery with Derek Murphy


Book cover designers will tell you that the only point of covers is to attract your readers and communicate the genre of the book. The next step should be to have the reader read the blurb for the book. But your audience won’t necessarily make it to the second step unless there’s a good, engaging cover.

For independent authors, it’s tempting to try to Do-It-Yourself when it comes to the cover, but it takes learning about marketing and design to even come close to what a professional can do. Sometimes you don’t need an expensive cover, though, as long as the cover you get is clear and designed in a way to let people know what the story is about.

Many sites, like Derek’s, offer DIY cover templates and premade covers. When looking at premade covers, you may find you’ll have to change little details about the story, like the main character’s features, if he’s featured differently on the cover of the book.

A/B Testing Book Designs

Many times the book cover that speaks to the author isn’t as popular as the one A/B tested against a professionally-designed cover. The amount you pay for a book cover design may determine how much input you can have, though. If you are paying someone a lot of money to design something that will attract an audience, it might be better for you not to be as exact in your demands than if you were paying someone very little.

Derek also gives us the tip that generally on a cover, authors should have a humanizing element, especially if the book is fiction. Depending on the cover you buy or have designed, they may even help you in story development, such as adding elements that are featured on the cover.

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Using Services to Design Book Covers

There are some tools and tactics you can try to make sure your book cover is attracting buyers, such as looking as the statistics or A/B testing or even looking at the number of impressions/clicks on AMS ads. The more accurate method, though, would be to keep track of sales from before and after the new book cover and compare the profits.

Many authors don’t want to be bothered with creating marketing around the book covers and will outsource it to one of the large online services. Derek cautions against this: “I've never seen anything better than mediocre book covers when going with a big company's design. They might be professional, as in they're clean and they look okay, but I've never seen anything impressive.”

Remember, book covers are the first thing potential readers see!

Bio of the Author in the Case Study:

derek murphy author books

Derek Murphy has a PhD in Literature and studied fine art in Florence and philosophy in Malta. He and his wife are avid travelers, and he writes fantasy and science fiction. He is also the author of nonfiction books about creativity and book marketing.

Derek also creates resources for authors to help them publish and market their books on his website and YouTube channel, as well as helped authors like Pat Flynn and Joanna Penn create their book covers.

Resources Referred to in this Episode:

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