Question About Cover Reveals…

books-7-16-2019

A few years ago I asked  people when they thought a cover reveal should be brought out.  I was surprised that several authors who were traditionally published told me that about six months was right.  Their reasoning was that the cover was the most basic component of the book’s promotion.  One said that she had a cover reveal before she had even finished the rough draft!  The idea is that every time the book is mentioned anywhere, the cover is there.  The cover symbolizes the story in people’s minds.

Since that post, I have noticed that most people do a cover reveal a few weeks before the release.  In fact, I often see a cover reveal paired with a preorder or an announcement of the release date.  I very rarely see the reveal more than three weeks out, perhaps a month if we stretch it.  I have even seen the reveal the day before the book was released!  Actually, I’ve seen the cover reveal less than a week before the release date several times and by several different authors.

So, what do you think, when is the ideal time for a cover reveal?  Should it be months ahead of time so the cover comes to symbolize the book and it is deep in people’s minds, or should it be days before the release to build that hoped for excitement?  Someplace in between?

As you may have guessed, I have the cover of The Old Mill ready to go, but I haven’t touched the manuscript since early October, shortly after finishing the second draft.  Just curious on what people thought.

40 thoughts on “Question About Cover Reveals…

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      “f I were to do a cover reveal,” – I’m assuming by the way that you stated it that you typically don’t do a formal “cover reveal”, you just put it out there when you start promoting the book. I know a few authors who do it that way. Thinking about it I agree that there is no use putting it out there and then having people not see it again for a long time – if it is part of the “promotion package”, there needs to be some promotion happening, like guest posts.

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          Pretty much. I had the idea very early on. I sent a few variations to a few people and received some feedback. But then I changed it from there and like my new version better than what I sent out ;)

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  1. Penny Wilson Writes

    I see the cover as a tease in anticipation of what’s between the covers. I know they say “don’t judge a book by the cover”. But, don’t we? I say, if you have the cover done and you want people to see it, go for it. I think if nothing else, it will plant the seed. When the book IS published, they’ll remember that cover, and you! :) My! 5 books now and counting! Good luck, Trent!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      That is close to what the “traditional” side always said. The cover is a good thing to use for marketing. Anytime the book is mentioned, the cover needs to be there. Or so the thinking goes. Maybe.. Yeah, 5 so far, though of those, “only” two are novels, the others short stories and novellas. The next one will be novel number three.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      So far it is a pretty wide mix, though most going towards “shorter time between cover reveal and book release, the better” end of the spectrum. Of course I am not going to go on popular vote, but it does give me a lot to think about…

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          I know, there is always something to worry about… On the plus side, a lot of people respond that it really isn’t that big of a deal to most of the people following the blogs, so that takes some pressure off…

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I agree that it is important for marketing. I was thinking of posting a blurb, but it seems the cover should be before the blurb. I’m still thinking about how I’ll move forward, but I might wait until I actually start work on the book again after being away for so long!

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  2. delphini510

    Hi Trent,
    Personally I think the cover is important. It gives an indication of the content.
    I wouldn’t think it would be helpful to promote the cover with a long gap to the book.
    As already said, it could easily be forgotten. How do you feel about other authors cover reveals?

    Miriam

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      The cover is important. You ask a good question about how I feel about other authors’ cover reveals. I really don’t have an answer, so perhaps I need to find one before I move any farther with the cover…

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  3. Sandra Conner

    Well, everyone’s probably going to have different opinions, and I’m not sure how valid mine is, but I’ll share it here. I have 21 books on the market, and i did not do any cover reveals for any of them. I did do a short pre-publishing marketing pitch for a couple, which, of course, included a picture of the cover — but also some excerpts and a description. I didn’t see that the pre-pub advertising did any significant good. So for all the other 19 books, I waited until I had the books available and then hit the marketing hard on all the social media channels I use. I’ve never been sorry i did it that way.

    Now as for offering a reveal way in advance — two different times, I decided I was going to go ahead and try to get people excited about a novel I was working on — and hoped that would also help me push to get it finished. Each time I showed the cover — but I also gave a brief excerpt. That was months ahead, and unfortunately, I still have not finished either book. Too many other things got in the way. Now, I feel totally foolish, people have forgotten all about what I shared and are not looking for the books any longer — not even interested in them. Jumping the gun on the promotion was a waste of time and social media, and I felt it made me look pretty foolish and amateurish in readers’ eyes.

    Moreover, I don’t even remember ever paying attention to any author’s cover reveal for a new book. If a book is on the market, I decide whether to buy it or not, but I don’t get excited about any books that aren’t actually out there yet. I may not be the norm, but I’m sure there are other people like me. And my experience has also been that, while the front cover is still fairly important in the roll of grabbing a reader’s attention if they don’t know me well enough for my name to grab them, covers do seem to be taking a back seat to the book descriptions more and more — especially when people purchase online.

    I imagine that since you now have the cover done, you’re eager to get it out there and get feedback on it. I certainly understand that, and just because I’ve decided to not go that route ever again doesn’t mean it’s wrong for you. And I’m sorry you’re getting so many different opinions that are probably not really helping in the long run, but hopefully, you’ll come up with a decision you have peace about. :)

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks for sharing your experience. Part of that is a bit familiar – After I finished my second draft I felt that I should have book out by the end of the year, perhaps February at the latest. I shared a few excerpts. That was late September, early October. I haven’t touched the book since… Oh well… It’s actually in much better shape than any of my other books at this point, but not ready for release!

      Everyone one is giving opinions, but “shorter is better” has been the loudest, with a couple of others similar to yours – why do one at all? We’ll see where it goes from here….

      Thanks.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      …which of course is one that was done by somebody else… I did a preliminary drawing,and Belinda based her cover on it, but did a fabulous job making it her own while keeping my idea in there.

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  4. Marilyn Armstrong

    I don’t have a lot of interest in covers since I read on Kindle and rarely see the cover. But when I was doing my book, I was obsessed with it. I had Adobe’s Framemaker and had to figure out how to use it for the book. It came out okay but if I were more experienced in creating art on Framemaker. it would have been better. But as a buyer, the cover is not particularly important to me.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Most people I know say that covers aren’t that important to them, and for a Kindle reader, I can really see it, but then I read a lot of “professional” advice stating that the cover is the first thing a reader sees, so there is a big need to make a good impression.

      I use PS for my photography, so I also use it for the covers. One thing – I don’t use layers all that often in my photography (occasionally if I need totally different “effects”, like levels, for different parts), but the book covers are done in layers – I think I had a dozen layers in The Halley Branch! I’m still getting used to using PS that way.

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  5. kutukamus

    Some covers tell nothing (like in many romance novels), some others do tell something. Still, if the latter is indeed the case, I’ll find it weird being dictated upon it. But that’s just me. :)

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      It is rare for a cover to tell you much more than the basic genre, though there may be a few clues, but even if they reveal little or nothing, there is a lot of emphasis on them. And it’s something I’m trying to get right….

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  6. marina kanavaki

    From my experience as a designer, I’d tell you a month or two is fine but not longer because -nowadays- it may be taken for …old! I know this sounds horrible and after all it’s a book we’re talking about, however it seems that circulating it for too long before its release may tire the audience/readers. Also, and this is more important, a good cover will stay in the mind even if it was viewed a couple of times. That’s the challenge of designing a book cover.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Yep, it is true that you can’t tell a book by its cover, but, on the other hand, people do often do chose a book based on that cover, even if it is subconscious. Hopefully the story here will be able to hook at least a few people in ;)

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  7. Prior...

    Hi Trent – this is such a good question – and my initial thoughts on the matter is that it depends on the author and their needs (or how the publisher wants to do the overall book promo – because a couple years ago -saw an author with a book deal talk about the book all year for an October date with a peek at the cover)
    And I remember Maria / who I met through your blog – when she invited input about her actual book title – which sorta connects to cover revealing – but in that case she gave peeks early promo about the book)
    My best thought / six months out seems rather long.
    Unless we are joining the author in other parts of the book – like you with sharing other tidbits or like Maria soliciting ideas for titles.
    But if I kept seeing a book cover for months and had no access (if I desired it) it would feel tired and old over months –
    Three weeks seems right on – and maybe a week or two –
    And now curious to see how your cover came out – is it done ?

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks, Y. I have seen people post various versions of their covers and ask which version they liked. Interesting how people take it.

      I do get your idea about some getting tired or bored of the cover. I have done a few posts about the book already, but at that time it was with the assumption it would be out by now! If I hadn’t dropped it back four or five months ago, it would have been coming out.

      Anyway, I will think about it. And yes, I do have a cover completed, but I have no hard release date yet – it all depends on when I can get back into the next edit. I can see mid to late May, but if I don’t start soon, well, it might be July or August!

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      1. Prior...

        Well
        It sounds like you have a great attitude about the options release date!
        And sorry for the late reply – I am taking a much needed blog break —-
        Ahhh – and came to check in but will resume my break – part of the break will be to finish at least one WIP
        ;)

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          I still haven’t restarted my WIP (I have two good drafts and it is pretty much in end shape). Maybe I should take a couple of weeks worth of blog break and start hammering away at it. Well, after this coming weekend when I will once again have a little more time…

          I hope your break is going well! And I you do get at least one WIP finished :)

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