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thriller cover examples

What’s Working Now in Book Cover Design: Thriller/Mystery/Suspense

What works for book covers in a particular genre changes. Keeping an eye on when/if trends change is part of a good book cover designer’s job. It’s, obviously, also highly recommended for authors to be aware of so you hire the best possible help. So if you’re looking for say, thriller cover examples, you will see them here, in one place.

From now on I’ll be tracking covers in Thriller/Mystery/Suspense genres and calling out great covers, new trends, and posting updates here in this post for anyone interested to see. These will not change every month, not even every few months probably, but I’ll keep updating this at least once a quarter and show new examples as needed.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Amazon charts, Amazon Also-boughts and Ads, Goodreads, Bookbub, and Pinterest to see what’s going on. If you have suggestions for what else to add, feel free to leave a comment. And definitely let me know if you think this is a useful thing or not! 😉

August, 2021

So, after going through Amazon.com charts and also-boughts these are covers that stand out for me. DISCLAIMER: Amazon charts are NOT 100% accurate and show different genre books in there so we have to be careful watching them. Thus I also look at Also-boughts to relevant books and New Releases.

Bold colors, dramatic sky nature shots

Continuing for a while now, awesome shots of nature landscapes with bold colors, high contrast, and often really dramatic skies have been a constant in the charts and new releases. Covers continue an older trope but with a modern update. Minimalist typography continues too. Authors who have great covers here are Lisa Regan, Rita Herron, D.K. Hood, etc Prevalent in Mystery and even seen in some crime thrillers.


Silhouettes (as always)

Another classic trope that always worked and will probably work, well modernized, is silhouettes on covers. Bold colors and bold typogrpahy continue (sometimes text has the boldest color on the cover). They seem to get darker in general too.

Some are the simplest environment + person covers (like Mark Dawson’s covers which had been copied too much sometimes), other times it’s more complex photo-manipulation like LT Ryan’s cover for Uncharted. All these are awesome and can be great for inspiration currently. NOT plain copying 😛

Now let’s dive deeper into few specific genres.

Mystery

Here are some awesome covers for the Mystery genre. Pretty much the same trend really. Designers are doing an amazing job!

Psychological Thrillers

Lots of classic tropes playing out, classic bue/yellow color scheme is popular as always. Minimalistic typography (but some have nice treatments to not be just ‘flat’).


Legal Thrillers

Even here we see the darker ‘feel’ trend come in it seems. Great series covers for Michael Stagg’s books.

Cool finds and honorable mentions

These might not be a part of a big trend, but I wanted to spotlight them for reasons like originality or jut looking superb.

Must you follow these trends?

Now that you know what is currently on-trend, does it mean you must do it?

Not necessarily.

Some authors should go for lighter covers. Or for riskier different covers (I’ve tried to share a few in the last section). I’d say let your risk appetite decide what cover you want to go for. If you’re all up for riskier, go against the grain or go crazier, if you’re more conservative, stick to these current trends. Nothing is set in stone. You have to do what’s best for the particular book and this just helps you be aware of what’s going on.



If you’ve found this useful, let me know in the comments or by sharing it with other authors in these genres. I’ll be updating this at least once a quarter (but reviewing things more often for myself) and will try to keep it up-to-date on what’s going on in cover design. And if you need a custom book cover designed, learn more about my book cover design services here.

6 thoughts on “What’s Working Now in Book Cover Design: Thriller/Mystery/Suspense”

  1. Paul Sharp

    I found this article very interesting. It gives a good insight to the current book cover trends. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great analysis, Adrijus! I’m liking this trend of eerily vibrant color added to thriller/mystery covers. And so true of the importance of keeping tabs on trends. Covers that worked a few years ago might look outdated in today’s highly competitive and crowded market. You’re still rocking your book cover designs!

    1. Adrijus Guscia

      Thanks a lot, Alan! 😉 Good to see you’re still around! Hope your career is going well.

  3. Cathy Chase

    I think the information regarding your insight in what is trending is valuable. You are the expert.
    Thanks,

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