Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Why Size Really Does Matter

We all know the importance of having a great book cover when it comes to attracting potential readers. When you consider that along with your blurb and opening lines, a cover is your most important selling point, getting it right is a must.

In the world of indie publishing, it's too easy to release our masterpieces with a second-rate cover. You know the ones I'm talking about. Clichéd images. Themes that don't match the book's genre. Unreadable or inappropriate fonts. A mix of cheap clip-art and unprofessional-looking fonts. The list could go on. Like with most aspects of publishing a book, when it comes to cover design, it really does pay to hire a professional or spend the time and money needed to produce the best cover you can.

But have you stopped to consider how good your cover looks at thumbnail size?

I hadn't until I read an interview with bestselling indie author, Talli Roland. You can read the full interview here. In it, she stresses the importance of having covers that work well at thumbnail size. Why? Because that's how your book will appear on most sites and apps. What she said struck a chord with me, because if your cover is unreadable and nothing more than a blur, who will bother to look at it?

I loved the covers my designer created for my two short story collections, especially the neon-styled title font.

Here's the one for Passing Time.

Now look at it at roughly the same thumbnail size that appears on my Amazon phone app and in an Amazon book search.

It's just about readable. In fact, it looks even worse on my phone.

So, I went back to my designer and told her that much as I loved the font, it had to go. I needed to replace it with something that would look good at all image sizes.

I now have a much bolder, clear title and author name. It's already made a huge difference to my sales. They tripled in the first week alone.

I've learnt my lesson. When it comes to any future covers, I will be automatically checking how they look at the smallest sizes, because size really does matter.

What about you? Do your covers look good at thumbnail size?


  1. Your name and title show up much better now!

  2. The white, while maybe not as interesting, is much more visible. Good call!

  3. Your sales tripled in the first week? Wow.
    There's such a marked difference between the two. I would never have known this...
    Writer In Transit

  4. That is amazing, but logical once you stop and think about it.

  5. Oh, I never thought of this! How amazing that it made such a difference in your sales, that's wonderful. Thanks for sharing this tip.

  6. I liked the old font, too, but you made the right move. It looks great at all sizes! I had the same epiphany:!/2013/02/first-impressions.html

    And here's where I ended up:

    Good luck!

  7. Ellie, this is great advice -- and clearly the result of experience. Thanks for sharing. Since we've got a book coming out in about six weeks, we think we better go back and give it the "thumbnail" test!

    Loved both your collections, BTW, and Mark's planning to review your latest in the next coupla weeks.


  8. It's a very good point - thanks for reminding me!


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