Some folks decided to put book covers to the ultimate test—how are they really judged? They made a game that had people judge book covers, and then compiled all the results. 3 million books had their covers judged, and then they posted up the results. It’s pretty cool.
You’ll have to head over to the original post for a breakdown on the book cover judgements, but it’s a great experiment. And it shows that the adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” is completely full of sh*t. Everyone is judging a book by its cover. The cover really matters. And, that sometimes it matters for weird ways (even books that were universally slammed for design would sometimes be highly rated because it had an attractive person on the cover. Oy.).
And for independent authors, it means that the money you are investing in your cover art designer is 100% worth it. It’s foolish to imagine that just because your words are good that the cover doesn’t matter. It does. A lot. So put some work into that cover art…and be judged favorably.