Friday, 20 February 2015

Book Covers for Series - What Works?

When writing a trilogy or series, it's vitally important readers recognise the books are linked. If a reader enjoyed the first book, you want them to notice the other books or when subsequent books are published. This not only helps sales, but also benefits the reader.

There are many different ways to let readers know books are linked - social media, newsletters, blog tours, and book blasts are just a few methods you can use. But there's also an incredibly simple and easy way for your readers to recognise books belong in the same story world - matching book covers. When done right, book covers are a powerful tool for writers.

What do I mean by done right? When the covers from a trilogy or series are instantly recognisable, but are also different. Alex J. Cavanaugh's CassaStar trilogy is a great example.

You can tell from the images used, the colour scheme, and the font, these are books that belong together. At the same time, each is unique and interesting in its own right.

Susan Kaye Quinn's Debt Collector series covers work equally as well.

I've seen covers that belong to a series that are so alike, I can barely tell them apart. The only real difference being the title. I find them boring, and as much as I'd like to say book covers are not one of the reasons I choose to read a book, that boredom puts me off looking any further. Of course, should I read the first book in a series and love it, subsequent book covers won't put me off reading more. But if you want to grab my attention in the first place, book covers are one way to do it.

Talking of matching book covers, friend and fellow Untethered Realms member Angela Brown has new covers for her Neo Chronicles series.

I did love the old covers (shown below), but there was nothing to tie the two books together.

Her new covers do. I can tell straightaway these are part of the same series, but also different books. They're also striking in their own right.

What do you think? Do book covers really matter that much? Does having covers that are linked in some way make it easier for readers to discover more of your books? How alike should they be? As always, I'd love to know your thoughts.


  1. Book covers are probably one of the most important things when publishing besides having an edited manuscript. An eye-catching cover that displays the book's genre well is vital. I do like when books in a series have similar (not the same) cover. You look at them, and you know they fit together. Love Angela's new covers for her NEO Chronicles!

  2. Thanks for sharing, Ellie. It's so true that book covers make a huge difference, and for a series, branding with a "series design in mind" is very important.

    *blushes at Cherie's compliment*

  3. You are so right on. I think the book covers should be similar enough to connect the series. Those are great examples you've shared.

  4. Angela's new covers are amazing! They go together and are dynamic on their own.
    Thanks for mentioning my series. My publisher did a great job with them.

  5. I'm struggling with this issue at the moment as I relaunch my own series, and need to come up with new cover ideas. Thanks for this timely post!

  6. Every designer I've spoken to has said it is the simple things that work well: the same font type on covers, a similar layout - even if the images are different.

    Covers are so vital, especially for indies. It pays to be professional.

  7. The cover and uniformity of a book series are very important to me. Knowing the genre at a glance is good, but once attracted by the cover, reading the first of a series, as Ellie says, the cover becomes less important except it should be similar enough to easily recognise the next book in the series. It is not unknown for a trilogy to suddenly turn into a longer run and you suddenly see a new book you were not expecting. This is when uniformity is important. In paper books, it does bug me when a publisher changes the cover design before you have collected the whole series.

  8. I like the new book covers - they are striking! They pop out too.

  9. All are nice covers. It is good to stick with a theme so they are easily recognized as a series.

  10. Yes, the covers surely should look like they belong together in a series. Besides, they look lovely side by side. I much prefer those new ones for Angela's.

  11. I can't remember seeing covers in a series that were too similar. But the Angela Brown covers that were not similar at all were a real problem.


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