How to Market a Self-Published Book with a Cover

04.02.2022

There’s a major difficulty in marketing self-published books — promoting the written word is hard. Persuading someone to read things isn’t easy. People want to know whether they’ll resonate with a piece of art at first glance. Visual marketing is often the only solution. Fortunately, a book cover can be a solid foundation for your marketing efforts and help you sell more copies. 

So, read along to figure out how you can use a book cover for marketing your self-published story.  

How important is a book cover for marketing?

First, let’s figure out the effectiveness of the book cover design in indie marketing. 

You must’ve heard a million times already that a book cover is a powerful marketing tool. It’s an intuitive and comforting idea, but how true is it? Can we find some substantial evidence that supports it? 

Well, actually, yes: Book covers redesign

The very idea behind a book cover redesign is to change the cover to boost book sales. It’s difficult to find a more fitting candidate to test book covers’ effectiveness in marketing. 

So, what do book cover redesign cases tell? 

  • J.F. Penn increased her sales on Amazon to 3-4 figures from 2-3 figures and tripled her ACX audiobook sales from 348 to 1040.
  • H.M. Ward contributed her bestselling success partly to the book cover redesign that improved the appeal of the stories. 
  • Also, you can check out this post where indie authors share their personal stories of successful book cover redesign. 

As you see, authors have had great experiences with book cover redesign, which is great news for you: Being a self-published author means you don’t have the reach and resources of the publisher to back you up. So, your self-published book marketing options are fairly limited. Fortunately, a book cover design is a comparably tiny investment with a potentially amazing ROI

 

You just need to use it well. 

10 ways to market a self-published book with a cover 

A book cover is the most effective when you don’t hide it. The more opportunities you have to show off the art, the more chances it will leave a mark in the minds of your future readers. 

With this in mind, we offer 10 ways you can market your self-published book with a cover. 

Book cover reveal tease 

Don’t underestimate the power of a nice, simple tease

People are inherently curious creatures: Give them a glimpse, a hint of something to come, and they’ll want to learn more. 

That’s why book cover reveal images remain a popular request among indie authors. Such images help create initial interest around your future release and strengthen author branding. 

Email book marketing campaign 

If you have an email list, use it to interest your audience in the upcoming release more by introducing the future cover properly. 

You can do it in a few stages, following an established marketing funnel:  

  • Day 1: Awareness. A letter about the upcoming book cover with a book cover tease image. 
  • Day 2: Consideration. A letter that reminds your followers about the upcoming release with some additional information, for example, interesting facts about the cover design process.
  • Day 3: Conversion. A letter that demonstrates the cover in its full glory with a reminder to share/like/comment on a book cover post on social media.
  • 4. Day 4: Loyalty. A letter where you thank your readers for support, share your emotions and further plans. You can also provide some additional bonuses: free ebook download, link to a special stream, discount, etc.

 

Ad posters

Ad posters based on a solid book cover design will boost the effectiveness of your promotional campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. You can also use ad posters for boosted posts. 

Animated book cover 

If you need to spice up your cover to make it more catchy, an animated book cover is a solid option. An animated cover can help you promote your book on social media or serve as a basis for a book trailer. 

Book trailer

While we’re at it, a book trailer is a go-to for promoting your book on video-sharing platforms, such as YouTube or even TikTok.

One of the most budget-friendly versions of the book trailer can consist of an animated book cover, narration, and soundtrack. 

Social media and website banners 

A professional book cover design is a solid basis for a website or social media banners. Such banners help with author branding and book marketing, reminding your online visitors about the upcoming release. 

Profile pic 

Have you ever clicked on someone’s profile pick just because you were intrigued by the character depicted there? We sure did. 

If your book cover design is centered around an interesting character design, you can use it for your social media. It will serve as another reminder about your book. 

TikTok videos 

TikTok can actually be quite an effective, though wildly unpredictable, platform for self-published book promotion. Still, there’s no harm in trying. 

If your artist can provide a video of the design process, some stills from it, or a simple collage, you can use it to create a TikTok video. 

Another idea is to use an animated cover along with a neat soundtrack

If the mysterious gods of the algorithm are loyal to you, your video will drive engagement. 

@julia_rozdobudko1

🔥 Book cover design by MiblArt 🔥#miblart #booktok #bookcoverdesign #fantasycover

♬ How You Like That – BLACKPINK

Merch

If you have great book cover art, why not slap it on some T-shirts, bookmarks, posters, you name it. Merch can actually help you promote your book in the offline world if you visit any cons, festivals, or smaller local events. 

A/B Testing

A/B testing is when you provide two different versions of the same thing to different parts of the same audience to test which one they prefer more. A/B testing is a powerful marketing tool. 

You can do the same with a book cover design

Take two different versions of the book cover and conduct your own A/B marketing research. 

  • You can perform A/B testing with social media ads, running two different campaigns to see which generates more engagement. 
  • Or you can prepare two different email campaigns with different book covers and test which one leads to more conversions. 

Also, note that the two versions of the book cover could be only slightly different. For example, you can test different color palettes, backgrounds, typography, or composition styles. 

A/B testing will help you better understand your target audience and invest in more effective book cover designs in the future. 

Successful self-published book marketing starts early

One of the best things you could do for your indie book marketing is to get a book cover design early, before the book release. It will help you ramp up your marketing efforts quickly and start growing hype around your upcoming release. 

As you may have heard, there’s a rule of 7s, which states  a “customer must “hear” the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they’ll take action to buy that product or service.” In this case, an early start is a major benefit. 

 

Premade book covers are great for early self-published book marketing as you don’t have to search for a designer, communicate with them, wait for the design and future revisions. 

You simply go to the shop, pick a cover you like, and you’re ready to go. With premade covers, adding an author name, changing the title if needed, or making some other minor revision is a matter of hours.

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