How to Boost Children’s Book Sales – Redesign Your Cover!

Children’s Books, Picture Books

Welcome to my weekly guest blog series:

Success in the Arts – Touching the Lives of Children

This week I’m featuring Shana Gorian, author of  Rosco the Rascal series.

A Visual Step-by-Step of a Cover Redesign

I had a problem. While reviews for my three chapter books for kids ages 6-9 were overwhelmingly positive from kids, parents, teachers, even librarians—without fail, my book sales just weren’t hitting the mark.

After much discussion and research, I knew it wasn’t the writing or the editing, or even a lack of promoting them that was behind it. Instead, I realized I had a very simple problem—my book covers just didn’t look like the other book covers in my market.

#1I realized my covers lacked mystery, emotion, danger, and action, all staples of the covers of today’s best selling chapter and middle grade books. My covers were mainly posed pictures of a cast of characters. They didn’t make you wonder what’s ‘just around the corner’ or make you want to open the book to see what would happen next.

My solution was simple—to have them completely re-illustrated. Yes, it was going to cost money, but I was determined. I found a new illustrator, Josh Addessi,  and so far I’ve been thrilled with the results.

Here, I’d like to take you on a short, visual, step-by-step journey of the project.

Book Cover Redo 1:

Rosco the Rascal Goes to Camp, the original cover spread


While this one did have some action, it’s unclear what’s really going on, and the faces lack emotion. The watercolor style is also a problem.


New cover, initial sketch: Despite the problems, I thought this scene was a great way to depict the setting of the summer camp using a scene from the book, but that it could be enhanced.


The second draft: This was to show the color as well as a few details. We decided to use the original back cover layout for each book so that my designer would be able to drop the same text into the same spot, saving me money in change fees.


The final cover: realistic, exciting, clearer and with greater dimension, plus a touch of mystery.

Book Cover Redo 2:

Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch, the original cover 


The original cover depicted the main characters, Mandy, Rosco, and James, smiling at the camera. There isn’t much to clue the reader in on what might happen in the story. Nothing evokes that need to open it up to see what happens!


New cover, initial sketch: We have mystery—a scene out of the book in which the kids are lost in the corn maze—and an interesting layout full of movement.


The second draft, in rough color. I asked Josh to brighten the cornstalks with more greens and yellows.


Third draft: Here is the nearly finished version. I love the realistic details, the colors, and how the large cornstalk will become the book’s spine. Rosco is turned to a slightly different angle so that we see more of him and his grin is friendlier than in the first sketch, lightening the mood just that necessary little bit to keep it from being ‘too scary’ (since the age range for these books are 6+, after all. My books are all very G-rated).


Final cover: a light outline on most of the text makes it very easy to read, despite the colorful background.

I’m over the moon with the way it turned out! My other book, Rosco the Rascal In the Land of Snow, will be re-illustrated next, so please stay tuned!

If you’d like to receive a FREE PDF version of the first two chapters of Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch, please visit my web site at and sign up for my mailing list, and I will email it to you. By signing up, you’ll also be notified of giveaways and special promotions, new releases, and other freebies!

The pumpkin patch book is really fun for autumn, and I’ve been told by several teachers that it’s great as a read-aloud book in classrooms as well as fun and easy for parents to read with a child at home, one chapter per night. Check out the reviews here:

Do you agree that a book cover filled with action, emotion and/or suspense appeals to kids today? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Shana Gorian is the author of the Rosco the Rascal series, chapter books in which a sometimes rascally German shepherd uses his true heroic nature to help his pals, James and Mandy, find adventure and overcome obstacles. Find her at


 Guest blogger host, Joseph Drumheller, is an award-winning author and energy healer.  He creates children’s books for Golden Bell Entertainment.

If you’d like to guest blog or want more info into the worlds, books, meditation, healing, and spirituality, please visit my website at:

Joe headshot color

Help support our lastest Kickstarter project and receive a gift!




About Joseph Drumheller

Joseph Drumheller is an energy healer and award-winning author. As a healer, he’s conducted over 2,000 private healing sessions since 1991 and worked six years in a cancer radiation clinic, honing his craft as a healer. He lives in Sppokane, WA.
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4 Responses to How to Boost Children’s Book Sales – Redesign Your Cover!

  1. What a great article! This is valuable information many Indie Writers tend to forgo; but shouldn’t. As much as we love the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” We do. And we should. The cover clearly has to resonate with the person, enough as to call them to action. Will the cover catch my attention? If it does, will I grab it to read the blurb on the back? Will I buy it? Those are all things a writer must consider. It’s easy to picture what you’d like to represent your book. But is that image strong enough to help build sales.

    Shana Gorian is a great writer. I’ve purchased all three of her books for my youngest, and as gifts for his entire class. The previous covers were beautiful. But these new covers truly make a huge impact.

    Wishing her and the illustrator all the success!


  2. Shana Gorian says:

    Reblogged this on Rosco the Rascal's Reading Room and commented:
    My guest post on award-winning author Joseph Drumheller’s blog~


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