Creating eBook Covers: Research Genre

You could pay someone to research the genre you wish to study but why when it is so easy to do yourself?

Process

1] Work out your genre and subgenre.

Eg: Mine are mostly Science Fiction, Adventure

2] Search Amazon Kindle for books in your genre and subgenre.

3] Pick at least five examples, but more if you wish.

Right click on each of the covers, select copy. Open a word document and paste the copied image onto a page. Repeat for 4 more images in your genre.

I selected these for Science Fiction, Adventure.

Next you study the images you selected and answer each of the following questions.

Question to Ask for Selected Cover Answer Y/N
Genre?
Sub Genre?
Image:
Does the cover imply the genre and subgenre?
Is there a character on the cover?Eg: If one of the main characters is a dragon, is the dragon shown?If one of the main characters is an alien, is the alien shown?
Does the clothing of the character portray the genre?Eg: If western is the main character carrying a gun and wearing western clothing?If historical is the main character wearing clothing from that era?
Does the background imply the genre and subgenre?Eg: If the story is based on a volcano exploding, is the volcano shown?If the story is an adventure, is that portrayed by the background?
If no character, is there an icon to show genre?Eg: If murder mystery is there a bloody knife or smoking gun?If science fiction is there either a space ship or stars or planet in background?
Text?
Can you clearly read the title in the small image?
Is the title suitable for the genre?
Can you clearly read the Author Name in the small image?
Does the title stand out from the image behind it?
Are other text or tag lines readable?
Can you tell the length of the ebook from the cover?
Can you tell it is part of a series?
Theme?
Even if you can’t read the title or author name, can you guess the theme of the story?Eg: dark and mysterious?Light and funny?

If you get enough Yes answers to the above questions, you can use these covers as templates for your own covers. I do not mean copy the covers. I mean base your cover layout similar to the covers that do work.

My Genre Research Example

I selected more images that told me they were science fiction and deleted the images that just told me they were adventure, but not necessarily science fiction.

Question to Ask for Selected Cover Answer Y/N Answer Y/N Answer Y/N Answer Y/N Answer Y/N
Genre? Science Fiction
Sub Genre? Adventure
Image:
Does the cover imply the genre and subgenre? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Is there a character on the cover?Eg: If one of the main characters is a dragon, is the dragon shown?If one of the main characters is an alien, is the alien shown? Yes No No No No
Does the clothing of the character portray the genre?Eg: If western is the main character carrying a gun and wearing western clothing?If historical is the main character wearing clothing from that era? No
Does the background imply the genre and subgenre?Eg: If the story is based on a volcano exploding, is the volcano shown?If the story is an adventure, is that portrayed by the background? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
If no character, is there an icon to show genre?Eg: If murder mystery is there a bloody knife or smoking gun?If science fiction is there either a space ship or stars or planet in background? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Text:
Can you clearly read the title in the small image? No Yes Yes No Yes
Is the title suitable for the genre? Yes Yes Yes
Can you clearly read the Author Name in the small image? No No Yes No No
Does the title stand out from the image behind it? No No Yes No No
Are other text or tag lines readable? No No No No No
Can you tell the length of the ebook from the cover? No No No No No
Can you tell it is part of a series? No No No No No
Theme:
Even if you can’t read the title or author name, can you guess the theme of the story?Eg: dark and mysterious?Light and funny? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Note: On the theme, I answered yes to all. I guessed dark and mysterious science fiction adventure. I may not be correct, but I will not know for certain of how relevent the covers are until I read the blurb, and the free sample for each of the ebooks.

None of the covers impressed me. I would not select any of them to read from the cover only. I would need to read the blurb, and the free sample before making a decision to purchase.

Next I repeated the process only this time on Amazon (not Kindle) to include print books from the Best Books of 2011: Science Fiction and Fantasy. Out of the ten books in the list, only three were Science Fiction. The rest were Fantasy so I deleted the covers from my list.

First I noted the difference to the Kindle ebooks. Not as dark. Even at this small size I could read the titles, even if the author text and other text fields were unreadable.

The images caught my attention. I did click on each one and read the blurb. I have now added the three to my list waiting for my next trip to the library.

What did I learn? I want my covers different from all the others so they stand out.

Do you want your covers the same as all the others? Or different enough to stand out from the massive selection of books in your genre?

Your turn.

What did you discover? Did the covers you selected interest you enough to read the blurb, check out the reviews and download the samples?

Part A: Introduction

Part B: Basics

Part C: Software

Part E will cover my examples

How far along are you in understanding all the different areas of eBook creation?

Any questions or suggestions appreciated.


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2 comments so far

  1. Angela/Curiocat on

    You know another way of searching would be by subject or even by theme. There are some interesting covers that come up that makes me look at things outside the box. For instance search for dragon instead of fantasy or if your theme is salvation search by that. The results are interesting.

    My thoughts on cover design were incoherent with no understanding how to come up with a design. It is becoming clearer for me the more I read about cover designs.

    Thanks for helping with that.

    • D J Mills on

      The search using dragons was interesting, but the search on salvation was unexpected, with so many non fiction covers.

      I give my thoughts on why ebook covers are not the same as printed book covers in the next part. Of course, I am still learning, but I have based my conclusions on the fact that the first cover I did is my best seller. So I am learning photoshop every chance I get.


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