You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we do anyway.
The cover is usually the first thing, and sometimes the only thing, that the reader sees. It needs to attract the reader enough to get them to pick the book up.
Most authors don’t design their own covers. So how do you get someone who maybe hasn’t read your book to perfectly represent it in a single image? Well, you do your best. Pick the most important thing you want your cover to show. The cover should reflect the story inside, but it’s not telling the whole story. Probably. Show a person, a place, set the mood, hint at the genre.
Different genres tend to go through trends in their cover designs. The most popular books of a specific genre tend to share similar design elements. Readers recognize it, even if they don’t acknowledge it, and associate certain cover layouts with certain genres.
Some authors, especially if they’ve already had a successful book published, will use similar cover designs for multiple books. Readers can recognize the style, and they’re more likely to take a closer look. I get the idea behind it, and it works, but I personally don’t love this. Sometimes the covers are designed too similarly, to the point where they look like a series, even if they’re completely unrelated.
Do you have any favorite book covers?