Altering the Amazon cover graphic

Yet another posting referring to the screen shot I took of an Amazon search results page which displays two larger graphics for my most recent book, The Highly Effective Habits of 5 Successful Authors.   Already we’ve discussed the importance of adding a Kindle edition to secure two such listings, and the importance of not having a white cover, lest it get “lost” among all the Amazon screen clutter. 

But what do you do if you have a white cover? Or what do you do if you want to increase the size of your book cover on Amazon (as I have done with many of my books). You change your cover graphic on Amazon…

I wrote on this topic a while ago, where I detailed the advantages of increasing the size of (and/or changing the color of) the Amazon cover. 

Take a look over to the right and see the cover of the second edition of SELL YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON (it’s right below Self-Publishing Simplified).

That’s how the cover looks of the actual book. But, strangely, that’s not how I want the cover image to look on Amazon.  And this has to do with online marketing in the new millennium, combined with the aspect ratio of books in relationship to the aspect ratio of the graphic footprint Amazon uses on its sales pages.  In other words, a 6×9 rectangular book cover is not OPTIMAL for use within a 260 x 260 square space, which is the graphic footprint Amazon allocates for product images on its detail pages.   Showcasing portrait-shaped books results in a graphic that is 260 pixels HIGH, but only uses 50% of the available WIDTH.  In other words, most book covers on Amazon sacrifice some of the space Amazon is giving to them.  And let me tell you, with the number of shoppers on Amazon, that is some expensive square-footage going to waste.

So, the solution is to provide Amazon with a different graphic other than the “actual” graphic of the book cover – one that is square rather than rectangular.  Of course, most books are rectangular (portrait) so this means you must ”change” the appearance of the cover.  You can either “squash it” so that the entire cover fits in a space that is 33% shorter. Or you crop off a portion of the cover in preference of greater online sales.  I opted for choice number 2.  

So when SELL YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON was first published in its first edition, I manually uploaded an alternate “square” cover image (doing anything “different” through Ingram or Amazon requires some manual intervention).  By “square” I don’t mean boring — rather I mean that it utilizes ALL the space Amazon allocates for the image, thereby making the cover image “bigger” than other cover images within search results, or even within Listmania or Guide listings (see the image of Sell Your Book on Amazon along the left-hand side of our screen shot for an example).

Of course, the more observant readers may also notice another difference between the Amazon version of the graphic above and the “real” version to the right — other than the shape.  Yes, the Amazon version is a nice garish YELLOW.  And this brings me to one of the most wonderful things about marketing on the Internet — you can have your cake and eat it, too.

What do I mean by that?  I would never design an actual cover of a book to look like the image above. It’s too… well, “ugly” for lack of a better word.  I don’t want ugly babies, because I submit my babies to contests and awards and I want them to have a chance to win.   But sadly, what makes an effective cover “in person” is not always the same as what makes an effective cover online.  That yellow sure is ugly, but when you’re scrolling through 25 books about self-publishing on Amazon’s search page, guess which image your eye is going to see first?  The big ugly yellow one… 

In other words, yes, you can have a great actual cover that wins lots of awards and you can have an image on Amazon that attracts lots of attention. Having your cake and eating it, too.

This marketing tactic isn’t just reserved for authors of “Amazon books” either — Outskirts Press is going to soon launch a new a la carte marketing service to help any author perform this function, regardless of where you decided to publish your book.

Previously on this blog I’ve provided other examples of this, and here’s a good link to one of those…