Is an illustrated cover right for you?
Review any list of the top contemporary romance books from 2019 and 2020, and you’ll see an unmistakable trend. The majority of those bestsellers boast covers with bright colors and featuring a distinctive style of flat digital illustration.
Opinions on this trend vary. I’ve seen some people argue they look too juvenile, or that the innocuous covers can be misleading. (The latter complaint has actually come up for my debut novel Us, Again … Perhaps we need warning labels, like “warning: detailed steamy scenes within…read in private”?)
However, these dissenters are in the minority, as evidenced by the bestseller lists. The data tells us the readers have spoken—with their wallets—and they love the illustrated covers! Just look at the covers for the Goodreads Choice Award romance winners for both 2018 and 2019 (Helen Hoang and Casey McQuistion)!
And there’s no indication that this phenomenon is losing momentum. Oprah Magazine’s list of anticipated best romance novels for 2020 features a slew of books in this style, including Jasmine Guillory’s Party of Two and Tessa Bailey’s Love Her or Lose Her.
Both Guillory and Bailey saw huge success in 2019 releasing titles with illustrated covers, and they’re clearly optimistic about the style’s continued popularity. Other recent blockbuster authors such as Abby Jimenez, Talia Hibbert, and Lissa Kay Adams are also staying put on the illustrated cover train as they travel into 2020.
In short? It appears this trend is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.
So, what does this mean for you as an established or aspiring indie author? Creative control is one of the benefits of self-publishing, but also means you don’t have a professional creative team designing your covers based on the latest trends. As an indie, the task of finding an artist and paying them to create your own custom illustrated cover can be daunting, and might not seem feasible.
That’s where I come in! As an indie author myself, I understand the risk you take putting your work out there, and how important your cover is. I will give it the same care and attention to detail that I do my own book babies. I also respect the “indie budget” so I keep my prices reasonable.
Do you think an illustrated cover might be right your next book? Contact me so we can start discussing your project!