Your Cover Is the Bridge to Your Readers by Stephanie Stamm

Steph_2 copy (2)We work hard to make the content of our books just right. But the first thing any potential reader sees is the book’s cover. If that potential reader does not find the cover compelling, she or he will never pick up (or click on) the book and find out how wonderful it might be. A great cover can’t carry a bad book, but a great book (at least if it’s by an unknown writer) will never be discovered without a great cover.

I can’t even imagine how many books I’ve read that I wouldn’t have if their covers hadn’t called me to learn more about what lay behind them. Certainly, I’ve read plenty of books based on the recommendations of friends or due to reviews or because they’ve reached the best seller lists. But all those books I just discovered on my own? Yep, I first picked them up because of their covers.

That’s why, as Cher’ley Grogg pointed out in her blog post from earlier this month, book covers need to be eye-catching and to pack an emotional punch. A cover also has to convey some specific information such as:

  • The genre of the book
  • The book’s target age group
  • The mood or feel of the book

Readers are looking for specific types of books. Your book is looking for a specific type of audience. Your cover is the bridge between your book and its readers. The cover communicates to your target audience that this is a book written for them.

A Gift of Wings Cover
Current Cover

Later this year, I will be releasing the second volume of my Light-Bringer series, A Gift of Shadows. In preparation for the book’s release, I’ve not only had a cover designed for Shadows, but I’ve gotten a new cover for the first volume, A Gift of Wings. The current cover speaks to the relationship between Light and Dark that is at the heart of the novel, but it doesn’t readily convey the book’s genre (urban fantasy), its target age group (New Adult/Young Adult), or its feel. If I want to reach my target audience, I need a cover that communicates all those things.

New Cover

I now have one that does that. 🙂 And, today, blogger extraordinaire L. Marie is hosting a Makeover Party for A Gift of Wings. Please pop over to her website, take a look at the stunning new cover (designed by cover artist and fantasy writer Ravven), and check out L. Marie’s interview with me. If you leave a comment on L. Marie’s post, you’ll get a chance to win a copy of the made-over book. Also, please check out Ravven’s website for some more of her beautiful designs and for some very informative posts about the process of designing a book cover.

Have you experimented with multiple covers for a book? If so, what did you learn?



Connect with Stephanie Stamm:




Stephanie Stamm is the author of the New Adult/Young Adult urban fantasy A Gift of Wings(She is working on the sequel.)


Click here to check out the new cover









She has also contributed stories (one fictional and one true) to the following volumes:

Undead of Winter Front Only Into the Storm Cover


22 thoughts on “Your Cover Is the Bridge to Your Readers by Stephanie Stamm

  1. Hey, Stephanie,

    Interesting subject matter, and a different angle on covers as well as follow-up to Cherley’s post. It got me to thinking… back before the Internet Age, I spent lots and lots of hours in Lake Square Mall’s bookstore in Lake County, Florida back in the ’80s. Didn’t read reviews back then. Knew the fantasy genre authors I liked from their books I’d already read. Authors I had no history with — just like you wrote — the covers enticed me to open the books and scan the opening chapters. So, yea, covers played a major role in the books I toked up to the counter and purchased.


  2. Hey, Mike! I don’t know that it’s possible to overestimate the importance of the cover. We make such snap judgments about things–and the cover has to communicate so much information so quickly. A good cover artist knows how to do that.


  3. Stephanie,
    Like Mike, I spent many an hour in the library and bookstore when younger and the cover always drew my eye, along with the title. Then I would read the blurbs, then the ending. I still read the end of the book before I read the beginning, and no, it doesn’t ruin the story for me. Now with the internet I don’t feel like I get the full force of what a book is like. Hmmm?

    Wishing you the best on this new book. Will pop over and check out the link, sounds fascinating. Doris


    1. I have another friend who reads endings first, Doris. I just can’t. I don’t want to know until I’ve gone through the whole story. I do read first paragraphs though. Thanks for the good wishes and comments!


  4. Great insights, Stephanie! Now that I have nearly seven years of authorship under my belt, I’ve learned a lot more about titles and book covers — what sounds/looks good to us as authors may not have the appeal/understanding of readers. I’m in the process of revising and revamping my older titles, giving them a “makeover” as well. Thanks for the tips and all the best to you!


  5. Love the new cover. Both eye-catching and emotional.

    I did my own covers and didn’t do too bad a job, given my lack of Photoshop skills. I’d really like to have a professional do the next ones. Have to see if I can afford it. 🙂


    1. Thanks, Kate! Good for you. My skills are nowhere near good enough to do it myself. My art skills are more in the 3D realm (ceramics, metal sculpture). I’m not a 2D artist at all. 🙂


  6. i totally agree. Covers can lead a reader to turn the pages to find out more. My small Edinburgh publisher doesn’t have a huge budget for book cover design, but they did change the cover for the first book of my Celtic Fervour Series of historical adventures when books 2 and 3 were published – to make them all have a ‘compatible match’. I love all of the covers. The yellow and black of ‘ Your gift of wings’ is striking so maybe you’ve used the same colours with a diffeent image?


    1. Your covers work very well together as a set, Nancy. I like all the different Celtic knots. The yellow and black cover for my book is striking, but I don’t know that it appeals to New Adult or Young Adult readers. The new one is completely different, with a young girl inside a ruined building. My future posts will show the new cover in the info about me at the bottom. And the cover for the second book follows that same kind of look.


  7. You have raised such great questions in this post, Stephanie. I agree with the cover issue. I had a professional do my covers and have had a lot of remarks on them. However, as strange as it may seem, I am not attracted to read a book by its cover, but by the Title and the inside flap. I do know that’s not how most readers pick what they want to read, though, so I have done my best to do whatever I can to market my books successfully. Thanks for this very informational post!


    1. Thanks, Linda! I really like your covers. They give a feel for the era and the circus and all. Well done. I pay attention to titles and back or flap copy too. But if the cover doesn’t draw me, I don’t pick the book up to read those things.


  8. I was glad to host your cover makeover. I’m so glad you were inspired to try something different with the cover. So glad you’ve had such a positive response to it.


  9. Stephanie, Thank you, you have given me a bit of direction for a cover I have struggled with for a while now. Cover designers are very important , but we as authors have to give them a sense of the work so the perfect cover comes together.


    1. Yes, we do, Sue. Ravven was wonderful to work with, because she asked all the right questions. She wanted everything from a synopsis, to descriptions of the characters, to the feel of the book (light v. dark, gritty, fairy tale, etc.). And that helped her create a fabulous cover.


  10. Wow, Steph. I love your book but the new cover really draws you in so much faster. Congrats on the make over and may the god of book sales be generous unto you. Great post, too. 😉


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