Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Book covers are the most effective tool in an author’s marketing arsenal, but I continue to be confounded by how often authors misfire with the unveiling of their covers. The mistake is understandable since, if you love your cover, you want to show it ASAP. But premature cover announcements are only one step above never showing your cover.
The key moment to unveil your book cover is…
…when all online sites have your cover correctly displayed, and both the physical and digital editions are available for pre-release purchase.
That means you don’t display your cover on social media, in a newsletter, as part of your email signature, or in any other place if the key online sites don’t:
- Display the cover.
- Offer both the physical and digital versions.
- Bring up the book through both of these searches:
–The author’s name–as a reader would search for you. That means, if you use a middle initial e.g., Nancy J. Smith, or a middle name, readers might not remember those details and just look for you under your first and last name. Try a variety of ways readers might remember your name.
–The book”s title.
Recently two of my clients were right to be proud of their new book covers; they were attractive, evocative and elicited an emotional response from the viewer. When I saw the authors’ Facebook announcements of their covers, being the hovering agent that I am, I immediately went to Amazon to look for the covers to be sure they were properly displayed. I typed in each author’s name and…no new book showed up.
So, being the hovering agent that I am, I suggested to each client that she might have shown off that new cover prematurely. Each of them assured me that wasn’t the case and sent me an Amazon link. When I clicked on the link, yup, the book popped up. But for one of them, I had to use the book’s title to find it, and for the other, the cover wasn’t displayed yet, and the Kindle version wasn’t available.No book description was up or any other element we expect to see on an Amazon page.
So, let’s see how premature cover announcements play out. Here’s a little story:
Once upon a time you, a fan of both of my clients, see these two covers unveiled on Facebook and want to buy both of them. For the first book, you hop over to Amazon, but by the time you get there, you can’t remember the book’s title. So you type in the author’s name–all her other titles pop up, but not the new one. So…you give up.
But, aha, you still have my other client’s book to buy. You type in the title because you remember it, and…Up pops an almost empty page. No image (you so longed to see that lovely cover again, which beckoned you to buy the book in the first place), but you move past that disappointment and look for the Kindle version because that’s your favorite way to read a good novel. Only the physical version is available.
So, disappointed, you close down Amazon and assuage your sadness by returning to Facebook. Or, since you’re already on Amazon, you shop around and buy some other authors’ books.
A month or so later, you once again come across the images of those great covers when you receive my clients’ newsletters or they mention the books on Facebook. You study each image and think, Didn’t I already read that?
Unhappy end of story.
Action point: Never, ever show your cover online until you know that, regardless how a reader searches for the book, a fully developed page, with the physical and digital versions, readily appears.
How do you keep track of books you hear about and want to buy–via lists, online shopping carts, etc.?
Can you recall a time you tried to buy a book and couldn’t because it wasn’t available or was too hard to order?
What is the best time to unveil your new book’s cover? Click to tweet.
A common mistake authors make in showing their new covers. Click to tweet.