Genre Specific Book Cover Designs – Pros and Cons and How to Use Them

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Genre specific books, and their respective covers, have both an advantage and disadvantage to them. Both of these have to do with how readers will interpret your book when they first see its cover. As the author of your book, it is extremely important to always keep your readers in mind when designing the cover. You can make a cover that looks perfect to you and conveys everything you think it should, but you’re not out to please yourself – you need to catch the eye of your readers.

By knowing what makes a book cover genre specific, you can use those elements to make your book attract attention from potential readers. Readers have to know what to expect from your book.

The Advantage of Genre-Specific Book Covers

Your readers will know instantly what sort of book they are looking for when they see the cover. Having a genre specific cover gives readers a good idea of what your book is like from the moment they see it. This means that readers looking for books in the same genre will find yours easily. You’ll also draw in more readers who know exactly what they want to read.

The Disadvantage of Genre-Specific Book Covers

Catering to a specific genre has its price. First, it will limit what you can use in your cover design in regards to color, layout, font, etc. Certain elements of a book cover will not work if you want to keep it genre specific. This could also limit your creativity in the design. In addition, your book cover risks blending in with others in its genre. Potential readers might skim over it since it looks ‘just like the rest of them.’ A genre specific book cover may not stand out.

How To Use Genre Specific Elements In Your Book Cover

Depending on the genre of your book, various elements may appear in the book cover design. This includes objects, fonts, colors, and more. These are not only limited to what the genre of your book is, but what the book is about.

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For example, historical-romance novels typically have covers with beautiful landscapes and characters. If your historical-romance book were to feature a castle as an important location or symbol, an illustration of a castle would fit well on your cover. In addition, if your romance book is tragic or sad, you could use a color scheme with lots of blue and purple, as these colors trigger melancholy emotions. This is an example of how your book cover can be genre specific while showing its own unique attributes.

Fantasy and science fiction novels have a wider range of possibilities, since there are sub-genres for both. But most of the time books under these genres will use bold colors and intense or dramatic imagery. Depending on the sub-genre the covers will vary – if your book is ‘steampunk fantasy’, for example, your cover should include steampunk elements such as machinery, gears, and aircraft. Or if your book is ‘sci-fi’ use a cover with darker color schemes and strong images that will attract both readers of science fiction and a futuristic theme.

Thriller or crime novels usually use darker colors and emphatic typography. Using a bold, strong, large font will catch the eye of the reader quickly. A cover that also uses the color red, which triggers emotions of anger and passion, could also be appropriate if such emotions are a strong factor in your book.

Again, symbolism on the cover can be useful even if your book cover is genre-specific. Pay attention to any words or imagery that are important symbols in your book. Then pay attention to what that symbol would tell your reader when they notice the book cover – that is, an image of a loaded pistol would be much more appropriate for a thriller than for a romance.

The bottom line is, your genre specific book cover should accomplish two things. First, it should attract readers who want to read books in that genre. Second, your book cover should include elements that make it ‘pop.’ Consider what will make your book cover stand out from the others in its genre while not conflicting with the genre itself.

Finally, look up book covers of the same genre your book is. Notice recurring patterns in imagery or color, and reflect on which patterns attracted you the most. Notice which covers didn’t pop out to you, and which ones got your attention quickly. The better you can catch all these in more in genre specific book covers, the better your own book cover will turn out!

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