They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s not entirely true! A book cover gives you an idea of what’s inside the book, what the overall feel is, and even what to expect. After all, it’s rare to find a high quality book cover on a poorly-written book, and I’ve found very few books with crappy covers but amazing stories inside. (I’ve been wrong perhaps once or twice…)

A lot of cover artists use stock images to create beautiful covers. While using stock images is a good way to find a wide assortment of graphics, it’s important to be sure the image isn’t being used by another cover. It makes the covers look (dare I say?) “tacky”.

I’m going to bring out an example I ran across a few months ago while writing book reviews. Two authors (both of whom have excellent novels) sent me their books to review, and as I was posting the covers, I noticed something in common:

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Can you spot the ways these covers are the same? Whoever designed these covers used the EXACT same image of the same model!

For most people, this wouldn’t be an issue, as the two books are only barely in similar genres (fantasy). But for some readers, it is actually a bit irksome to find details like this.

My advice: be careful if your cover artist uses stock images. It’s nearly impossible to do a Google Search to see if other covers use the same image, so you have no way of knowing until it’s too late. Original art is always the better option, even if it means you end up spending a bit more.