Book Cover Redesign: When and How to Revamp Your Design

POSTED ON Jan 10, 2024

Elena Rapovets

Written by Elena Rapovets

Home > Blog > Author Brand, Book Design, Cover Design, Marketing > Book Cover Redesign: When and How to Revamp Your Design

Have you ever wondered why some titles immediately grab your attention on the shelf while others don’t? A lot of this has to do with the book cover. The cover of your book is not just a protective layer—it’s a crucial marketing tool. It’s the first thing a potential reader sees, and it can make the difference between someone picking up your book or passing it by.

This is where a book cover redesign comes into play. You might have written a fantastic book, but if the visual design doesn’t do justice to the content, it might reach fewer readers than it deserves. Redesigning a book cover isn’t just about making it look pretty. This is a strategic decision that can impact your work’s success.

When to Consider a Book Cover Redesign

Deciding to give your design a new look is significant. It’s not just about changing a picture or adjusting colors. A redesign is needed when you aren’t sure the book cover effectively communicates its essence to the reader.

In his blog, thriller writer Russel Blake discusses his book cover redesign experience. Initially, for his novel Fatal Exchange, he wanted to include all the key elements of the plot in the cover. As a result, it was cluttered and didn’t represent the story at all. But a friend asked why he didn’t put the female protagonist on the cover since the novel was about her. After he did that, the sales went up.

Fatal Exchange by Russel Blake First Edition Book Cover
Fatal Exchange by Russel Blake Book Cover Redesign

While several factors can prompt a redesign, it’s often a combination of reasons rather than just one. However, if your book isn’t selling as expected, this alone might justify considering a new cover. Let’s have a look at some key reasons to contemplate a book cover redesign.

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The Old Cover is Lacking

The cover is the first thing a reader sees. If it fails to match genre expectations, evokes the right emotions, or lacks a strong composition, it won’t attract the readers it deserves. A cover that seems out of place or doesn’t convey the book’s theme can limit its appeal.

Low Sales Despite Correct Market Targeting

If you’ve done everything right in marketing your work, but it’s still not selling, the cover could be the issue. Sometimes, a well-written book struggles in the market because the cover doesn’t resonate with its potential audience.

After initial low sales, author Joanna Penn redesigned the cover of her novel Desecration. The first cover focused on a theme rather than a character and also didn’t meet genre expectations. It was too white and arty for a dark crime thriller. Changing the cover to feature the main character and using darker colors aligned it better with the crime thriller genre. This shift led to improved sales.

Desecration by Joanna Penn First Edition Book Cover
Desecration by Joanna Penn Book Cover Redesign

Feedback from Readers

Reader feedback is a goldmine of insights. If your readers consistently point out issues with the cover, it’s a clear sign that it might need a revamp. It can be as subtle as reviewers mentioning not to judge the book by its cover. Remember, your readers are the best judges of what appeals to them.

Target Audience Mismatch

Sometimes, the actual audience for your book becomes clear only after its release. If there’s a mismatch between your intended audience and the actual one, a redesign can help realign the cover with your readers.

Consistency with Author or Series Branding

For established authors, it’s important to ensure that all your books, especially early ones, reflect your current brand or series style. Redesigning these covers can create a cohesive look across your works, making your entire collection recognizable and appealing to your readers.

The book market is always evolving, and so are cover design trends. If your book’s cover looks outdated, consider a redesign to align with current styles. This keeps your book relevant and competitive in the ever-changing market, attracting new readers.

For example, if you buy Frank Herbert’s Dune in 2023, the cover will look very different from the first edition. A fresh cover for a new edition can help your book stay relevant and appealing to new generations of readers.

Dune by by Frank Herbert First Edition
Dune by by Frank Herbert Newest Edition

Re-release or New Edition

Updating the cover can be vital if you’re releasing a new edition of your book or re-releasing it. In 2010, Sam Weber designed a new book cover for the ebook edition of Ender’s Game, a classic science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card. The original art, and the paperback cover, are quite typical for a sci-fi novel. However, the publisher wanted to create a cover that addressed the emotional conflict of the novel for ages, so it was time for a change.

It was tricky because, although the main character is a little boy, it’s not a children’s book. And the cover needed to be able to covey all that. The final image is emotional and personal, which conveys the loneliness and personal struggle. It also better reflects what the story is about.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card Paperback Cover
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card Ebook Cover

How to Revamp Your Design

When revamping your book cover, start by critically assessing the current design. Does it effectively communicate your book’s genre and target audience? You need to find out what works and what doesn’t. You also need to identify your story’s main message to ensure your new cover will reflect this.

After these initial steps, the process is similar to designing a new book cover. Consult with design professionals, consider your readers’ preferences, and iterate the design based on feedback. The final stage is choosing a design that resonates with your audience and looks good both in print and online. Essentially, it’s about crafting a visual that not only represents your story but also appeals to your audience.

Marketing Benefits of a Book Cover Redesign

A book cover redesign can be a powerful tool. Think of it as giving your book a new outfit that is more in tune with current trends and reader preferences.

Firstly, a new cover can make your book stand out in a crowded market. It signals potential readers that what’s inside is current and relevant. This is especially true for digital platforms where the cover is often the only visual cue a reader has to go by.

Secondly, for readers who are already familiar with your work, a redesigned cover can renew their interest. It signals that the book has something new—additional content, a revised edition, or a fresh take on the story.

Finally, a redesigned cover can be linked with marketing campaigns or special events. For example, if your book is reaching its first anniversary, a new cover can be a great way to celebrate this milestone.

In the book publishing world, design trends and reader preferences are always changing. What catches a reader’s eye today might be different tomorrow. These shifts are often influenced by changes in cultural interests and design technology.

Stay informed about current design trends. Still, doing so doesn’t mean you should constantly change your book’s cover to match every new style. The key is to be aware of these trends and consider if they align with your book’s identity. For instance, if your work has a simple, impactful message, you might consider redesigning it in a minimalist style, which is trending now.

There are risks associated with changing your book cover too frequently. Chasing the latest trends can confuse your readers and dilute your book’s brand identity. Frequent redesigns suggest that the content of the book is also changing. When readers find out that it didn’t, they might get disappointed.

To avoid these pitfalls, focus on timeless design elements with enduring appeal: classic typography, color schemes matching your book’s mood, or imagery that encapsulates your story. By focusing on these aspects, you can create a cover that remains relevant and appealing over time. This can reduce the need for frequent redesigns and helps maintain a strong, consistent brand identity for your book.

Final Thoughts on Book Cover Redesign

Book cover redesign can be a strategic move to boost its appeal in the ever-changing book market. It’s important to consider a redesign when your cover no longer resonates with current trends, reader preferences, or the book’s core message. However, it’s equally vital to avoid constant redesigns, as this can confuse readers and dilute your book’s identity.

A well-designed cover is more than just an attractive facade; it’s critical to your book’s marketing and brand identity. As an author, carefully weigh the benefits and risks before redesigning. A thoughtfully designed cover can make a lasting impression, drawing readers to the unique world you’ve created within your pages.

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Elena Rapovets

Written by
Elena Rapovets

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