Amazon can be notoriously sluggish with updating book cover art, especially with small press or print-on-demand books. The listing for the book will often appear weeks before they update their catalog and the sight of the “no cover image” Amazon smile has sent many a new author into a panic.

The first thing to remember is to take a moment and breath. They may be slow about it but Amazon will eventually update the image on their own with the image your distributor or Books in Print has for your book so if you sit back and do nothing, the situation will correct itself. However, if you want to take destiny into your own hands rather than wait for them to update this, there are a few ways to do this.

The simplest and fastest way to update your cover image is to upload it as a customer image. Under every book cover image (or book cover placeholder image) is a link that says, “Share your own customer images.” Note where the pathetically drawn red arrow is in the screen shot below:

This feature is handy for several things, including uploading photos of the book’s interior or highlighting special features of the book but, by making the first photo you upload the front cover, that will become the cover image for your book on Amazon. When the official cover comes along, this will override the customer image but, as customer images post in seconds and the official image can take weeks, this is by far the fastest way to get your image up. For an example of how to make the most of the customer image, please see this book.

The only downside to uploading the cover as a customer image is that it will identify you as the person who uploaded the image which some people object to.

Your other option is to enter your book into the Search Inside the Book program. Submission to this program does much more than upload your cover so, at first, it might seem like overkill. However, joining this program is a must for any author as it is a huge marketing benefit so by submitting your book to the program early, you can kill two birds with one stone and get your book in the program and your cover image up all in one step. For instructions on how to join the Search Inside the Book program, click here.