self-publishing success for indie aiuthors

Book Design

5 Tips to a Great Book Cover

First and foremost with any good book cover, there needs to be cohesion between design elements and market. Be simple and clear about what the story is, with a professional design that uses images, color, and text wisely, understanding who your target audience is.

Follow these 5 tips to help you (or a designer) create a great book cover:

1. Title large and easy to read.
Usually a cover should not use more than 2 fonts, as it can look busy and messy to readers. Avoid over stylized fonts. Clear, large, and simple is best.

2. Author name clearly visible.
You’re not just selling the story; you’re selling YOU.

3. Images good quality/high resolution and set the mood.
Hint at the time-period, setting, or topic of the book so that at a glance readers know what they’re in for. Don’t stop with the front cover of the printed book, either. Design the spine and back cover just as diligently. Don’t forget to review a thumbnail image of the cover so that it is eye-catching even scrolling down Amazon lists.

4. Less is more.
Don’t show too much of your protagonist. If you display a character on the cover, let it be a teaser, slightly ambiguous, that still allows readers to imagine what the character looks like. Also, avoid garish color combinations or too many images, which can tire the eye and cause a potential reader to turn away.

5. Research book covers in similar genres.
What do successful books in your genre look like? Create something that is unique but in line with what readers of your genre expect and are drawn to.

You want your book to stand-out, set the mood, establish a brand (especially if it’s part of a series), and prove that there is a high-level of quality in the writing, which people immediately associate with a high level of quality in the design. A cover doesn’t say everything about a book, but readers still judge books by their covers, so make sure that your cover catches their attention and keeps it.

What are some of your favorite book covers, and why? Have examples? Share them in the comments!

Written by: Derek Murphy

Derek is a book cover designer finishing a PhD in Literature. These days he spends his time building tools and resources to help indie authors publish better on his blog, Read More


Leave a Comment