Tuesday 25 August 2015

A Picture Paints A Thousand Words

By Rel Mollet

Cover art is always a big talking point on my blog. I do regular cover reveals as new books hit Amazon and there's always plenty of discussion on covers that work and ones that don't. Of course, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it is a subjective exercise with many differing opinions.

As authors, being aware of the importance readers place on an appealing cover is crucial. Most readers are unlikely to purchase a book with a cover they dislike. Many readers base their decisions to purchase a novel by an author they don't know on their love of the cover alone. Readers want to get a glimpse of the story from the a glance at the cover, be aware of the genre immediately, and know if it is a second or third book of a series, by their consistency with the first book. And pity help the author/publisher who has a character on the cover that doesn't match their description in the story! Or series that fail to place a number on the spine and cover.

Traditionally published authors may not get a great deal of say when it comes to their book's cover art, but indie authors really need to pay attention - and be willing to bear the cost - to every aspect of cover design from the artwork, to the title font, and a consistent and recognisable author name font. Your cover is your shopfront and it needs to look attractive and fit the story line to work best in your favour.

Christian Fiction covers, especially in the historical romance genre, are easily identifiable with tried and true (some may say cookie cutter!) designs still prevalent. Authors wanting to tap into the traditional Christian demographic need to note what works for that audience, and equally, those writers hoping to reach a broader audience should look for stylistic and unique cover designs.

There's a mountain of other things to consider but I'm simply addressing cover design from a reader's perspective.

Here's some recent covers (both traditionally published and indie) that reflect both styles, and some of the comments I have made about genre and the like. It's not too hard to pick the reader audience these authors and their publishers hope to connect with, is it?

PS. After you have looked at the many covers, there's a question I'd love you to respond to below!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on which covers catch your eye! And, if you don't already know, whether you can distinguish the indie covers from their traditional counterparts.

Rel Mollet founded her book-reviewing blog in 2006, which is dedicated to showcasing Christian Fiction and its writers by way of reviews, author interviews, character spotlights, and more. 

Rel is a contributing writer at and, and an Advisory Board member of the INSPY Awards.  A book club co-ordinator for over a decade, Rel resides in Melbourne with her family.


  1. Quite a few catch my eye, Beth Whites, Susan Anne Manson those eyes are stunning, I also like Virginia Smiths book.
    I would say Sandra Orchards book is indie, I like her writing but not a fan of the cover, also Billey Coffee maybe,
    Not sure of the others.

    You are right a physical book the cover is something that does matter for ebooks I don't find it quite as big an issue.

    1. I am so with you on the eyes of the model on Susan's cover, Jenny.

      Sandra's is published by Revell and I actually love what they have done with the cover, even though I wouldn't say it is personal favourite. I really like that it is unique, especially amongst standard Christian fiction covers and it reflects the mystery genre really well.

      I thinking on your comment about ebooks. Isn't an attractive cover still necessary to catch a reader's eye on Amazon?

    2. I guess I buy more books from authors I know as ebooks or are on special. Its more the ones in a bookstore. Although they probably do catch my eye to start with. I guess if I look at books on my bookshelf I see covers but I don't see the cover in colour on my kindle and often the cover.

  2. Hiya Rel, you picked some beaut covers to show off.

    The Gifting is an Indie, isn't it? But you wouldn't know by the cover. I so like Ronie's "Embers" - easy to see it's got a fantasy/spec storyline. I also really like the simplicity of Sandra's. The green stands out being unusual. And Hillary's table - the old man father in me can see myself lunching with family & friends as we observe the 2 young lovers wandering the field.

    And Mesu's Miriam … is a beauty.

    Yes, how important is the cover. Angelguard's cover freaked a few people out. I received an email from someone congratulating me on its release but not liking the cover so much she couldn't buy it.

    Like Jenny said, with an ebook I don't get too hung up on it. And is one of the reasons I prefer buying hardcopy novels and ebook non-fiction.

    1. Love your thoughts, Ian - you are right about The Gifting being an indie book. I've read it and the other two in the trilogy and can't recommend them highly enough! You may be aware that K. E. Ganshert is Katie Ganshert, known for her award winning women's/contemporary romance novels. She's a gun at YA, too.

      Covers are always so subjective, aren't they? You and I both love the uniqueness of Sandra's cover, yet it doesn't appeal to Jenny. Go figure ;-)

  3. Thanks for talking about covers. They are so important. I think we tend to be drawn to certain covers because we like the genre. Katherine Yeay's cover draws me because it is whimsical, Ganshert's, The Gifting looks amazing and the images tell a story (love those eyes) and Beth White's book looks great for its genre but the cover would tell me not to buy it because I don't really like 'traditional romances'. Coffee, Chapman, Cantore, Mason and Orchard might be indie - I think :)

    1. You are absolutely right, Sue, about being drawn to a cover's genre. We so like to identify a genre by cover design.

      Here are the publishers for the covers you imagined were indie:

      Coffey - Thomas Nelson
      Chapman - Harvest House
      Cantore - Tyndale House
      Mason - Bethany House
      Orchard - Revell

      Interesting, isn't it?

  4. In the past, many indie covers stood out like a sore thumb, but these days it doesn't have to be that way, although there are still some doozies being released!

    The indie covers are:

    To Get to You
    The Gifting
    Baron of Emberly


  5. Hi Rel, I immediately knew the first cover was Katherine Reay's because it matches the other books in her series. Amy's cover is clever. I recently read Sway and, when I started reading the book, I had wondered why there was a vinyl record on the cover. I enjoyed the lovely 'aha moment' in the story when I worked out the connection.

    I picked the four indie books because I know the authors and I'm familiar with their indie titles. I've found that the cover art for many indie books are just as good, if not better, than the covers of traditionally published books. :)

    1. I'm with you on Amy's cover and story, Narelle. I love it when there are little gems 'hidden' in covers that only come to light when reading the story.

  6. Rel, thanks for including the cover for Medical Judgment. It was, of course, designed via Abingdon Press but with significant input from me--matter of fact, this is the second or third try, but I think they got it right. As an author who has mainly been traditionally published, but who has dipped his toe in the indie publishing water, let me emphasize that it's important to spend the money (although it may hurt to do so) to get a good cover. Even though you may think most of the books sold will be e-books, I was amazed at how many print copies of Rx Murder sold. Thanks for the post.

    1. Thanks Richard - appreciate your thoughts. Great to hear you have a publisher who works at getting a cover to where they want it to be.

  7. Hi Rel, what an interesting--and fun--discussion. Thank you for including Baron Of Emberly's cover. I adore my cover designer.

    1. She does a great job, Tamara, especially getting the texture and feel of the genre. I know you work hard on those little things on covers that make all the difference :)

  8. Love this post! Thanks for including The Gifting, Rel!

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Katie. Your indie covers are so arresting - love them!

  9. Joanne's and Katie's are both well suited to their stories. I also adore Katherine's and Kara's. Both such gorgeous designs for their respective stories (or I'm certain Kara's fits wonderfully, shouldn't say for sure, since it's not out in the world as yet). Fun post, Rel! :)

  10. Hey, Rel! Thanks for including Miriam in your cover chat! It's way different than my other biblical fiction covers and I LOVE it! The folks at Waterbrook/Multnomah are doing some fun, outside-the-box thinking, and I'm excited to see if we get some new looks with the new look. ;)


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