Author Topic: Need Advice on Picking Premade Covers  (Read 674 times)  

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Need Advice on Picking Premade Covers
« on: July 17, 2018, 10:09:11 am »
No, this isn't a post asking for cover designers with premades or links to premade websites.  Sorry.  I already have some places I'm interested in buying covers from, but my dilemma is different.  I have difficulty deciphering a genre or subgenre of a cover sometimes.  Kind of awkward when I'm a reader and writer.

Some genres are easier to tell for me like fantasy and science fiction.  On the other hand, subgenres are questionable.  I remember someone posting advice for a fantasy cover and didn't see anything wrong with it.  All the others said it was portraying the wrong fantasy subgenre and I honestly couldn't tell.

Another example, when researching on Amazon, I saw covers that I thought were fantasy, but were showing up in horror/mystery & thriller/etc.?  To be fair, they are kind of fantasy based on the titles and blurbs(?), but the other genres did catch me off guard.  I must be missing something.

Now basically to the point of the post.  I monologue for quite a bit.  I'm currently looking through GoOnWrite for premades.  Another twist I didn't mention before is I'm not starting with a story in mind.  I want to try picking a premade and write a story based on it.  So I'm looking for help on how to pick premades or at least figuring out the specific genre/subgenre of the covers I'm interested.

I do plan to write in multiple genres, but I'm currently focusing more on fantasy or paranormal right now.  I'm not sure of the responses I'll get, but I figured this was the best place to ask.

Do you sometimes pick a cover based on the genre not subgenre you think it portrays like picking a fantasy cover instead of focusing on an epic fantasy cover?  For those who pick premades based on a story you already have, do you pick a cover as long as it's close enough even if it might give the wrong idea?  For those who pick premades because they like how it looks like me, do you then come onto Kboards/readers/etc. to ask for advice about the genre of the cover?

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    Offline Whatever Writer

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    Re: Need Advice on Picking Premade Covers
    « Reply #1 on: July 17, 2018, 10:26:24 am »
    Your best shot for readers is a cover that SCREAMS the genre and sub-genre. Ignore covers in genres where you find oddities, because they just stuck those there to try and boost rankings. I like your approach, but I would also advise making sure you can string together a premade that can be with others - that way you don't end up with a series that doesn't flow. So maybe don't have a recognizable model from up super close if it's a series ;)

    So in summary, if you find a cover that hits a sub-genre you will love to write within, go for it. If it's just a pretty cover that is too fluid in where it fits, dodge it!

    Offline username

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    Re: Need Advice on Picking Premade Covers
    « Reply #2 on: July 17, 2018, 10:32:35 am »
    Your best shot for readers is a cover that SCREAMS the genre and sub-genre. Ignore covers in genres where you find oddities, because they just stuck those there to try and boost rankings. I like your approach, but I would also advise making sure you can string together a premade that can be with others - that way you don't end up with a series that doesn't flow. So maybe don't have a recognizable model from up super close if it's a series ;)

    So in summary, if you find a cover that hits a sub-genre you will love to write within, go for it. If it's just a pretty cover that is too fluid in where it fits, dodge it!

    Yeah, the bad thing about my approach is the series thing.  I'm actually looking for both standalones and series.  If there are premade series, that's great, but I'm not going to force myself to find covers to go together so I can have a series.

    Offline SA_Soule

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    Re: Need Advice on Picking Premade Covers
    « Reply #3 on: July 17, 2018, 10:51:17 am »
    Hey Phoebe,

    I know I've already given you a ton of advice in our email exchanges, but one thing that you can do is this: ignore ALL subgenres. Focus on the main genre either fantasy or paranormal. Locate premades in the main genre of your story, and then copy and paste the ones you like into a folder on your desktop. Go to Amazon and review the top 100 books, and place the premade beside those to see how it matches up.

    And one more thing...as a writer myself, I would advice you not to spend a lot of money on premade covers BEFORE you write a novel. You'll find that most times, the story evolves and when you finish, the cover might no longer work for that particular storyline.

    My advise is to make sure any premade cover that you pick is "genre specific."  A lot of successful authors and graphic designers will agree that if your book cover does not match the current trends in the genre you're writing, then there is a good chance that the story will not reach your intended audience. And IMHO, if the book cover is not genre specific, then you won't sell as many books.

    As far as a series goes, you want covers to look similar with the same font styles and placement of text for branding purposes. That way it is easy for a reader to recognize your brand and other books in the same series.

    I have more advice on my blog if you're interested.  Book Covers Don't Matter: http://bookcover-designs.blogspot.com/2015/11/book-covers-dont-matter-4-fantastic.html


    Whatever you decide to do, I wish you every success!  :D

    S. A. Soule

    Offline username

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    Re: Need Advice on Picking Premade Covers
    « Reply #4 on: July 17, 2018, 11:11:01 am »
    Hey Phoebe,

    I know I've already given you a ton of advice in our email exchanges, but one thing that you can do is this: ignore ALL subgenres. Focus on the main genre either fantasy or paranormal. Locate premades in the main genre of your story, and then copy and paste the ones you like into a folder on your desktop. Go to Amazon and review the top 100 books, and place the premade beside those to see how it matches up.

    And one more thing...as a writer myself, I would advice you not to spend a lot of money on premade covers BEFORE you write a novel. You'll find that most times, the story evolves and when you finish, the cover might no longer work for that particular storyline.

    My advise is to make sure any premade cover that you pick is "genre specific."  A lot of successful authors and graphic designers will agree that if your book cover does not match the current trends in the genre you're writing, then there is a good chance that the story will not reach your intended audience. And IMHO, if the book cover is not genre specific, then you won't sell as many books.

    As far as a series goes, you want covers to look similar with the same font styles and placement of text for branding purposes. That way it is easy for a reader to recognize your brand and other books in the same series.

    I have more advice on my blog if you're interested.  Book Covers Don't Matter: http://bookcover-designs.blogspot.com/2015/11/book-covers-dont-matter-4-fantastic.html


    Whatever you decide to do, I wish you every success!  :D

    Yes, you were quite helpful.  I'm grateful you were willing to answer my long list of questions and provide even more advice.

    I didn't take into consideration that the story can still change and the cover won't work.  That is something to think about.

    I wonder if the advice for series apply to a shared universe and by shared universe I mean that all the stories take in same universe, but otherwise have no connection whatsoever.

    Offline MichFisher

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    Re: Need Advice on Picking Premade Covers
    « Reply #5 on: July 17, 2018, 03:50:24 pm »
    My advise is to make sure any premade cover that you pick is "genre specific."  A lot of successful authors and graphic designers will agree that if your book cover does not match the current trends in the genre you're writing, then there is a good chance that the story will not reach your intended audience. And IMHO, if the book cover is not genre specific, then you won't sell as many books.

    As far as a series goes, you want covers to look similar with the same font styles and placement of text for branding purposes. That way it is easy for a reader to recognize your brand and other books in the same series.

    Whatever you decide to do, I wish you every success!  :D

    Yes. All of this!

    One other concern I'd have with writing to an existing cover is production time. If you don't write and edit quickly, new trends may start to emerge in the time it takes to complete the book to a publish-ready polish. Ideally, these aren't too specific, so covers that hit the general genre sweet spots should work out fine, but I'd definitely lean toward imagery and fonts that adhere to classic styling over trendy specifics that might be heading out of fashion by your publishing date.

    The best advice I can give is to select a cover that truly resonates with you, then compare it to the best-selling books in potential genre/subgenres. If it fits comfortably into the general style you see in popular books' covers, it's a good choice to grab. Once you've IDed where it fits the best, you can better write to that audience's expectations.

    Best of luck with it!
    The Artful Cover  - Premade covers from $99 | Custom cover packages from $250 | Promo graphics and author branding

    Offline username

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    Re: Need Advice on Picking Premade Covers
    « Reply #6 on: July 17, 2018, 07:28:41 pm »
    Yes. All of this!

    One other concern I'd have with writing to an existing cover is production time. If you don't write and edit quickly, new trends may start to emerge in the time it takes to complete the book to a publish-ready polish. Ideally, these aren't too specific, so covers that hit the general genre sweet spots should work out fine, but I'd definitely lean toward imagery and fonts that adhere to classic styling over trendy specifics that might be heading out of fashion by your publishing date.

    The best advice I can give is to select a cover that truly resonates with you, then compare it to the best-selling books in potential genre/subgenres. If it fits comfortably into the general style you see in popular books' covers, it's a good choice to grab. Once you've IDed where it fits the best, you can better write to that audience's expectations.

    Best of luck with it!

    Another thing I didn't think of.  I wasn't thinking about trends.

    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: Need Advice on Picking Premade Covers
    « Reply #7 on: July 17, 2018, 11:39:03 pm »
    One thing you can't always count on is the different categories on Amazon. A lot of authors put their books in the wrong categories, either because they don't know any better, or because they want to take advantage of an easier genre to get visibility.
             

    Offline username

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    Re: Need Advice on Picking Premade Covers
    « Reply #8 on: July 18, 2018, 08:10:14 am »
    One thing you can't always count on is the different categories on Amazon. A lot of authors put their books in the wrong categories, either because they don't know any better, or because they want to take advantage of an easier genre to get visibility.

    That's frustrating.  I'll probably use another website to do my research, but it's not really the same I think.  Or maybe I'll just search by keywords and see what I get.

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