How To: Cover Reveals
We know how precious book covers are for authors and readers alike. For authors, it’s a visual representation of all your hard work and an important milestone in your publication journey. And for readers, it’s a window into the soul of your book. Especially in the age of BookTok and Bookstagram, first impressions matter!
One way to take advantage of a beautiful cover is through a cover reveal. These scheduled unveilings help build excitement for upcoming releases and may help increase pre-orders as well!
While cover reveals are most popular for middle grade, YA, romance, mystery and sci-fi/fantasy books, there are no rules for who can and cannot have one. If you’re proud of your book cover and want to show it off in a memorable way, go ahead!
Keep reading for our tips on how to put together a successful cover reveal.
Cover reveals are traditionally held about 6 months in advance of publication day; however, this is just a loose guideline. In general, reveals can be held any time after the cover art is finalized but before it’s been posted online.
If you’re thinking about setting up a cover reveal, check in with your publisher first and ask what they have planned. These days, it’s fairly rare for a publisher to coordinate cover reveals, but it’s worth checking, just in case.
If they don’t have any plans, take matters into your own hands! Start out by choosing a date for the unveiling. Ideally, this would be about 2-4 weeks in the future, so you have plenty of time to tease it on social media beforehand.
There are two main strategies for running cover reveals. The first is to self-host, and the second is to call on an influencer, blogger or your street team and have them host your reveal for you. (Wondering what a “street team” is? Check out our previous post on street teams here.)
If you choose to self-host, you should alert your publisher and publicity team of your plans, and make sure anyone else who has access to the cover image knows to keep the file a secret until cover reveal day!
Then, simply tease the upcoming cover reveal on your social media for a week or so to build hype. Tell your followers that something exciting is on the way, and remind readers to check your social media pages on the planned day.
A little help from your friends
If you’d rather have your cover reveal hosted by an influencer, blogger, or street team, then you’ll have to prepare for a bit more work. You’ll need to wrangle a willing participant (or several) with a schedule that will allow them to post within your preferred time frame.
Some influencers may want to be the exclusive host for a cover reveal, whereas others may not mind being part of a larger push where several outlets share the cover at the same time. Be upfront with your contact about your plans, and make sure they are fully onboard.
Additionally, to make your cover reveal stand out from the crowd, you can offer to give away an excerpt of the book or send some swag to the influencers’ followers.
If you’re not keen on reaching out to influencers, you can also call on your street team to help you out with your cover reveal. Try creating a sign-up sheet for team members to let you know their availability to post, what accounts they can share a reveal on, and how many followers they have.
We often recommend self-hosting because it’s easier to get exactly what you want, and requires less coordination. That said, having influencers or your street team help you out can connect your cover with a much wider audience than you could reach on your own. If you’re willing to put in the extra effort, it might all be worth it in the end!
The big reveal
When unveiling the image on your social media accounts, be sure to include links to pre-order if available, and thank the artists who worked hard on your cover! If your pre-order links aren’t live yet, you can link back to your website and encourage traffic in that direction instead. You can also share fun “behind-the-scenes” stories about how the design came to be, or share pictures of initial sketches or inspiration.
After the cover reveal post goes live, you’ll need to update the cover in all the relevant places: Goodreads, your author website, and your Facebook / Twitter headers. You can also create a “pinned tweet” on Twitter so your reveal remains at the top of your feed for several weeks, which is a good way to keep it visible until your next piece of important book news!
Cover reveals may not be for every author, but if you’re fairly social-media savvy, a cover reveal can be a memorable way to celebrate all you’ve accomplished so far while building excitement for your upcoming book release. Ultimately, your network of readers, friends and followers want to share these exciting milestones with you, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!
Jackie Karneth is a publicist with Books Forward is an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.