The Importance of Cover Consistency
We all judge a book by its cover, and that is why it's so important. But it's more than that - your cover will not only attract your reader, it will attract the right reader.
For example, if your book is a horror book with themes of supernatural, you don’t want to aim your cover at a romance reader. There are certain conventions your cover will follow to meet that genre, and become sub-consciously recognisable to your audience.
But, just as important as having a recognisable genre - perhaps, even more important, is having a recognisable brand.
As you publish more and more books, you will have your name on more and more books - and that name is important.
You are a brand. Your book is your product, which has your branding on; your author name. And just like any product released by a brand like Sony, Tesco, Co-Op, or whomever – your audience will recognise whether a product is part of that brand. Therefore, that brand should be recognisable.
But why is it important to have a recognisable brand?
If you are a fan of Stephen King, then when you’re in a book shop browsing books, and you see his name, you will automatically be inclined toward that book. And it's not just the letters that make up his name that attract you – it’s the font, the colour, and the positioning of that name (/brand) that means you recognise it as Stephen King. To you, that accumulation of consistent visuals sub-consciously infers quality; it acts as a visual reminder of brand that you like.
Therefore, your name needs to be a generally consistent font, position and colour across your books. Small differences can occur across various books, but that author name needs to remain recognisable. I mean, look at those Stephen King books above - had you ever really consciously acknowledged that his author name is the same on each one? Probably not. Yet, without even reading the name, its visual representation will make it clear to you whose book it is.
Let’s have a look at a bestselling indie published author, Mark Dawson’s. Mark Dawson does actually change the font colour - but everything else stays the same. The colour does, however, still share the light tone of the others, so his brand does remain recognisable.
Mark Dawson has had great sell-throughs on his books, and I would definitely argue it's because his books are easily recognised. Once seen, a reader knows whose book it is without having to think.
And the less a reader has to think to find your book, the better.
This is also useful with a series. Try to make the covers of each book in a series consistent. Make them follow the same format, maybe with a different image relevant to that book.
I got this very wrong the first time I published.
Let’s have a look at the original covers I used for the five books in The Edward King Series.
Let’s have a look at what the covers look like now.
How much better is this?
A reader can instantly see that these books are part of a series before they even read anything on the cover. Their format is consistent throughout. Their branding is clear and obvious.
Let’s take another example, here are the first four books of The Sensitives.
I did research when designing these covers. I looked at the format that paranormal horror covers tend to follow. Not only does the consistency make this series recognisable, it also follows a format that is recognisable as paranormal horror. Therefore, both the brand and the genre become recognisable to a potential reader.
Here are a few more of my book covers.
Although they follow a different format, my author name is always the same.
The brand is always the same.
That way, the brand is recognisable.
So choose your brand. Choose the way your author name will appear. Research ways the names of other author’s in your genre appear.
If you make this consistent early, you will be grateful later.