The first thing you hear when you’re reading advice on how to make your self-published novel sell is to have a professional cover that fits into the genre you are writing for. But what’s left out of that advice is that cover trends change over time. Whether you’re ready to launch a new release or you’re looking to reinvigorate your backlist with a fresh new cover, it’s critical to be sure that you’re leveraging cover art that is appealing to the young adult audience of today (not five years ago).
Cover art contests are regularly run by several self-publishing sites, such as The Book Designer. These sites can be great resources for inspiration or to get visibility for your own book by entering your cover into one of the free contests. Another way to check the pulse of cover art is to look at best sellers in your genre to see what your audience is clicking on. It’s good to know what’s working, but also don’t be afraid to make your cover different so that it pops out at the reader who’s scrolling through dozens of books.
For the young adult audience, below are five key cover art trends in 2020 that are compelling readers to click “Buy”. Proof that they work? I know that I bought more than one of these titles because I had to see what was inside the pages.
Trend 1: Grabbing the eye by using grayscale with a pop of color
Example: Circus of the Dead by Kimberly Loth
Trend 2: As a variation on the example above, muted palettes are leveraged for a dreamy, fantastical appeal.
Example: Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
Trend 3: Intriguing readers with a glimpse of something beautiful and mysterious
Example: Ember Queen by Laura Sebastian
Trend 4: Pairing vibrant color and detailed graphics to make the viewer take a closer look.
Example: All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace
Trend 5: Pairing opposites (like death and beauty) compels readers to take a second look
Example: The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa De La Cruz
What cover art tactics have you seen work well, either on your book or others?