What does a bestselling book cover look like? (And would you know it if you saw it?)

 In book design tips

Today I deleted some images out of my portfolio.

I had over 300 cover samples, which make my site run slowly, so I wanted to get it down to around 200. Choosing which images not to display was very difficult.

I have my own favorite covers, but I can’t account for what authors are going to like.

Consistently, I have people tell me that their favorite covers in my portfolio are the quick samples I made 3 years ago when I started this business. I think they’re shoddy and amateurish. But if they are the samples that convince people to hire me, I don’t want to delete them.

On the other hand, as a respected and well-known book cover designer, I see it as part of my job to educate authors about what a “good” book cover should look like. Because it’s very possible that the covers they like won’t sell well.

The covers that they appreciate may be poorly designed. And I shouldn’t have any poorly designed covers in my portfolio. And of course I’m always getting better – so the covers I made 2 years ago aren’t as good as the ones I’m making now; but they may still be much better than many other book cover designers.

I left some of them in anyway, but I’ll probably cave and take them out sometime soon.

I need to be the one broadcasting which cover designs I like and recommend, rather than showing covers I think authors will like. Because my job as a designers isn’t to make authors happy.

My job is to help authors get their books read.

My job is to make their books stick to the top of the bestseller lists.

I can do that, by making choices, and being firm about using the kind of design that works, and avoiding designs that people like. There is a big difference.

PS) if you cover was removed, it doesn’t necessarily mean I didn’t like the design, I also aimed to balance things out by only keeping so many books per genre/color/style.

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