News Flash! Cover Reveal!!

Barbara Vey -- August 19th, 2013

News Flash

Can someone please explain to me the importance of cover reveals?  I know that it is when the publisher (whether traditional or self) shows the public what the book cover will look like before the book officially comes out.  But why is this important.

As a reader, I really don’t care.  If it’s an author I read, I’ll most likely get the book anyway.  If it’s a new author, it will depend on the book itself.  Seeing the cover ahead of time isn’t going to sway me.  I understand that covers sell books, but it’s the hype of the “cover reveal” that I don’t get.

I constantly get emails announcing cover reveals and think, “Well, that’s nice.”  But I’m never sure what anyone wants me to do with it.  I can talk intelligently about a book after I read it, but how in the world am I suppose to be able to recommend a book based only on the cover?

Maybe I’m expected to just show the cover and not really talk about it.  I also see it a lot on social media where it’s like breaking news that the cover will be revealed.

So, help me out here.  Am I missing something?  What exactly should a cover reveal do?  What is its purpose as a special announcement as opposed to just saying this book is coming out.

I’m sure there’s a logical explanation and I’d love to know what it is so I can explain it to others.

Do cover reveals sway you into choosing a book?  Do you look forward to it more?  Have you done cover reveals and what has been the feedback?  I’d really like to know.

Bottom Line:  There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts. ~
Charles Dickens


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40 thoughts on “News Flash! Cover Reveal!!

  1. Mia Marlowe

    I think it has to do with marketing and the number of times you can get your name and book title in front of readers’ eyes. Personally, I slap the covers up on the Coming Soon page of my website as soon as I get them. I suppose I ought to do a big build-up to a cover reveal, but I figure my website is there to inform readers, not tease them.

    1. Debbie Kaufman

      I don’t do the build-up either. But I do share once I have permission from the publisher. I wonder if others who do it up in a bigger way find it effective.

  2. Debbie Kaufman

    Overall, I love seeing new covers. A cover reveal is sometimes the reminder I need about a book from a favorite author that I want to remember to get/pre-order. From an author’s perspective, first I think we just get excited when we first see it and want to share. Then I think we hope that it will initiate some of those pre-orders or at least keep our names in front of readers until the release. Kinda like all those fast food commercials–you may not run out and buy the new burger the first time it oozes bacon and cheese in HD, (or in this case the book) but see it enough and hopefully next time you are in the store you’ll remember and pick it up. I’m interested to hear what others have to say about this .

    1. Barbara Vey Post author

      Debbie, I love the idea of authors getting excited about their book covers and wanting to share them. I’m just not sure if making an event of it, like announcing the nominees for the Academy Awards is the way to go. I think if an author just says, “Here’s my new book cover…what do you think?” makes me feel more like the author is inviting me to share their moment rather than it being breaking news.

      1. Sandy Blair

        I don’t do “cover reveals” and agree that the “Here’s my new cover, what do you think?” approach is better.

        If a publisher asks for my input into a cover’s design, I will post their new concept cover to my fan club to get their opinions, (which have proved invaluable.) Once a cover is finalized I post it on my site and in my newsletter so readers know what to expect come release day. If I’m really excited about a cover, I’ll post a copy on Facebook. (If not, I’ll just wait until release day. :) )

  3. Jacs

    If the promo of a book is done right, getting this reader to anticipate an author’s upcoming book by little teases of excerpts, glimpses at the characters etc. , then a cover reveal is another sweet treat–especially if it contains eye candy!

    It’s like icing. I could like and eat it alone but it’s so much better having the yummy cake below!

  4. joysann

    As Debbie says above, the cover reveals sometimes work to remind me to mark that new book’s release date on my calendar. That only works, though, if I already read that author’s work and am anticipating her new book or that next book in a series. An author I’ve never read? It’s not likely, but it could happen if I scrolled past it on a media site and it was eye-catching enough. I can understand an author’s excitement and urge to share on social sites to their “friends”, just like wanting to share news about the new kitten or puppy.

  5. Vicki Batman

    Hi, Barbara! I just say “hey, it’s my new cover,” but nothing more than than, except put on my site with the release date. It’s exciting especially if I like the cover.

  6. Raelene

    I find cover reveal hoopla annoying, and more likely to turn me off an author. Don’t waste my time with the cover, tell me something about the STORY! But that’s because covers have no impact on my decision to buy or read a book. I couldn’t tell you what the covers of my favorite books look like, or the covers of the ones I just bought. I guess if you are influenced by a cover, seeing it before release could cause you to add the book to your “buy” list – or possibly remove it from the list, if you don’t like the cover!

      1. John B.

        As a manager print buyer for a major publishing company, I agree…HOOPLA! I have purchased thousands of very expensive covers with foiling, embossing, spot UV, holographic foil ect… In most cases, a year after book release, book sales are horrible. When will product design learn it’s the book content that sells, not the cover. I realize you must create an attractive cover, but many in the industry just go overboard and wast money on too many cover enhancements. Many times I approached executive staff about this excessive cover cost and no changes were put in place.

        I never met anyone who purchased a book because of the cover. Simply put, it’s very expensive eye candy.

  7. Stephanie Scott

    Marketing gimmick, is all! It might depend on the reader audience how effective this is. For some YA franchises, like Mortal Instruments author Cassie Clare, her cover reveals have been big news. Maybe not so much for a debut author whom no one knows, though it does get the author’s name out there.

    For you and your blog, I would hope this wouldn’t turn into a new cover reveal every day. I’m not sure what anyone expects you to do with that information; it’s free promo for an author if you feature it.

  8. Riley J

    It’s like a little present to excite the fans. Think back to the days of Harry Potter. Everyone was just so excited to find out what color the new book would be, what little clues about the plot would be revealed on the cover, etc. Any little tiny bit of new information was exciting, but actually getting to see the cover… !!! It was like an early Christmas present. It also gave fans stuff to talk about with each other and meant that the wait until the actual book release was almost over. Same thing with the Wimpy Kid books today: What color will book 8 be? What will the title be? Then on August 8, boom, we found out it’s green and called “Hard Luck.” So, basically, it’s not designed to get the booksellers to stock it. It’s designed to build excitement for the fans of the series, as well as intrigue new readers who might never have heard of the book, but might become interested once they see the cover and the excitement surrounding the cover reveal and decide that they want to be a part of the excitement too.

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  10. Courtney Lou

    I can’t speak for the general public (obviously), but in my opinion, covers are only important if they’re part of a series and even then they aren’t so much important as they are exciting, especially in series. Cover reveals satisfy reader’s curiosity. If they love a series and eagerly wait for the release day, they’re happy to get any tid-bit of information they can regarding the book. It’s possible that seeing a reveal is a reminder, or perhaps reassurance, that the book is on it’s way to publication
    I think cover reveals are also a way to get readers excited about buying the book. If publishers, authors, etc. create a hype about a cover reveal, the reader begins to think that it is something special to see the cover before the release date.
    Long story short, cover reveals aren’t all that important, but we create the hype itself.

  11. Cynthia Shannon

    I have set up a few cover reveals at Goodreads, where I work as Author Marketing Coordinator. At Goodreads, we create a virtual event for the reveal to which fans of the author’s can RSVP to and get a reminder the day before. Usually we pair this with a special ‘sneak peek’ excerpt or exclusive video of the author. Fans LOVE this, and start posting comments about how excited they are for the book. True, we find it works best for authors in YA and the New Adult genres who have an already established audience and whose next book is already highly anticipated, but it does drive conversation and awareness of the title before it is released. It’s a straight-forward touch point for the author and the publisher in their overall marketing campaign for the book!

  12. Bertrice Small

    Most readers don’t see the author’s name – even in 1 inch high letters – first. It is the cover art that first draws the eye to the book, and then they may/or not see the authors name. I’ve always said that
    half the sales of a book, and certainly new readers, are drawn by a good cover first.. After 35 years in this business I must know something. Of course the covers that don’t resemble what is in the book
    drive me crazy. In the beginning I was a Tartar where my covers were concerned. Now my publishers
    know better where I am concerned, and my readers can count on the cover on a Bertrice Small novel
    being reasonably accurate as to what is inside.

    1. Barbara Vey Post author

      I agree with the importance of great covers. I have a problem with making an event out of revealing a cover. Showing it, passing it on to the reader, fine. But acting like it’s breaking news is what seems a little silly to me.

    2. Cindy Ulrich

      After reading “The Kadin” I always looked for the name Bertrice Small on the cover and the artwork didn’t matter! In fact when Ms. Small was in Pittsburgh several years ago for a Romance Writers conference she graciously autographed my rather tattered copy of “The Kadin” and I recall her saying she liked that original cover!!!

  13. C

    As someone who decides which new items to purchase a cover reveal reminds me the book is coming up and should be added to a cart. It also helps me decide about the purchase. A young adult book with a bad cover is going to need a good amount of hype to get it to circulate. Sometimes no matter how good the story is, a bad cover keeps younger people from picking it up.

  14. JoAnn Ross

    (I’m putting paragraph breaks in because I this is going to be long, so I apologize in advance if the coding shows up.)
    Great question, i love seeing other writers’ covers, but don’t buy books by the cover, especially because I had an infamous “monkey death mask” cover for Confessions, which MIRA later admitted was the uglist cover they’d ever done. This does come in handy when an author friend privately shares her cover she’s upset about, then I i share mine and she inevitably decides at least hers isn’t THAT bad, lol.

    I once had a web person who, although I was paying her, refused to put the cover up until a book was a month out. She insisted it decreased “excitement.” This is partly why she’s a former web person and now I put my covers on my “coming soon” page when I receive them because, especially with a series, readers have read a teaser in the back of a book, so now they can see the cover.

    Unlike other last minute publishers I’ve worked with, NAL not only gives me amazing input, working from dozens of photo ideas I send them, they always have the cover done months before I finish the book, so I still put it on the coming soon page, but also give my FB fans a forty- eight hour sneak preview. My newsletter subscribers also see it then because I promise them first look. They even see early black and white sketches if I’ve received them for comment.

    Then it goes down until I start sharing it more about two months out. It goes on my homepage about a month before the release. One other thing — the fabulous watercolor artist who does my Shelter Bay covers always sends me the actual art, without text, which he gets back from NAL and I have framed on my piano room wall. I’m thinking of sharing them, but only as a before and after llook on FB and my newsletter.

  15. Inanna Arthen

    This is actually part of the trend away from books as books toward books as media properties. This is where publishing is headed, with all the big publishing companies merging into multi-media corporations and launching self-publishing/author services branches as testing grounds for properties with strong potential (because that’s exactly what these “author services” branches are). The “cover reveal” is the equivalent of the movie/TV show “teaser trailer.” It’s a precise equivalent, in fact. Just as a “first teaser!” for an upcoming movie or show is released and trumpeted around on social media, so is a “cover reveal!” announced for upcoming books.

    I don’t think it hurts, although I’m not sure readers have quite the same response to a new book as viewers to a new movie or TV show. But the media corporations publishing the books are most definitely conflating the two, because we’re reaching the point where only books with obvious potential for immediate film/TV adaptation and other spinoffs will get the big deals.

  16. becky

    I’ve never bought a book simply because I liked its cover, but I have, in the past, NOT bought books because I didn’t like the cover. Before the eReader age. There are some books whose covers are just too awful to contemplate reading in public.

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  19. lenaheadey

    Actually the main thing is the fist look of the book or the cover of the book cause it explains a bit of the story which makes the reader curious to read the book…….so that’s why the cover of the book plays an important role.

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