Doing Cover Research

The most critical part of a book is its cover. Without a good cover, readers never click to learn more about a book’s content. Readers really do judge a book by its cover. A great way to explore cover ideas in a genre is to go to Amazon.

For example, type in Medieval Romance – You’ll see most covers have a guy and girl or a girl alone. They tend to have large images and primary-type colors.

Now type in Romantic Suspense – The covers now are mostly a single guy, mostly naked, and dark, brooding colors, focusing on black.

Scifi Adventure – Lots of black with “bold” colors like gold or violet. Faces seem to be a theme.

Cyberpunk – It’s lots of dark, “formal” looking covers.

It gets much harder in mystery because there are so many different mystery styles and it’s hard to “call out” a specific sub-genre. For example, none of the Boston Writers do cozy mystery, but you can see if you type in cozy mystery that they are cute, bright colors.

I tried a few combinations to “aim for” Tom Hollyday’s Chesapeake Bay murder mystery series and I came up with Small Town Mystery Suspense. That gets into the area he’s in. You can see these tend to look serious, with large title letters, and a brooding sort of background. So I think his covers are perfect for the genre right now.

For Travel Tips it tends to be bright colors and big titles. The mood is gentle and beautiful.

For Lisa Shea’s Oxendine series and Aspen Allegations I tried Literary Fiction. The colors are somber, muted, with a contemplative feel to them. So hopefully her new covers will fit in well here. Not brooding – more thoughtful.

For Stephanie’s conspiracy books I looked for Conspiracy. They seem to be red, black, and white – a great match for her new cover.

Gay Literature tends to have muted colors, a “literary” / elegant feel to them, and a fair amount of black.

For the topic Minute Mysteries it seems to be hand-drawn designs with a clear mystery-themed image like a detective, gun, or brain that catch the eye. Something that clearly says “sleuth.”

What happens when you search for your specific topic area? It’s fun to find out!