Book Cover Design Tips

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Book Cover Design Tips

A good book cover is important. Many readers base their decision to buy a book on the cover alone. Your book cover can influence a potential reader’s decision to buy your book and help your book stand out among the other books.

Whether you design your book cover yourself or hire a professional, you still need to do some research, pay attention to basic cover design elements, and ask yourself some questions.

RESEARCH

  • Your target reader audience.
  • Features readers like/dislike about book covers in your genre.
  • The covers of popular books in your genre.

BASIC COVER DESIGN ELEMENTS

  • Be aware of image copyright laws.
  • Know the pros and cons of using stock images.
  • Establish the principal focus of your book cover.
    • Principal focus = motivation, incentive, and emotion behind your characters and story.
    • Principal focus = the element that takes control and receives the most emphasis, space, and attention on your cover.
  • Use fewer images—don’t clutter your cover.
  • Sometimes less is more, whether it is the number of images, the amount of detail in the images, or typography choices.
  • Avoid white backgrounds.
  • All text should stand out.
  • The title font should be large and easy to read.
  • Ideally, only two font styles should be used at a maximum.
  • Avoid using Papyrus, Comic Sans, and other fonts that don’t look professional.
  • Don’t go overboard with text effects (drop shadow, bevel and emboss, glow, stroke outlines).
  • Fewer colors are better.
  • Watch your color combinations.

QUESTIONS TO ASK

  • Does the principal focus of my book cover receive the most emphasis?
  • Will my cover still look good at thumbnail size?
  • Will my cover fit with my genre?
  • Will my cover stand out among other books?
  • Will my cover appeal to readers?
  • Will my cover convince potential readers to take a closer look?
  • Does my cover reflect the content of my book?
  • View our list of Recommended Cover Designers.

    10 comments

    Great tips, especially on less is more and two fonts maximum. I once saw a cover in cursive, glittery script that was put vertically on the side…. Couldn’t read any of the title!

    ((FYI, pretty hard to leave comments here!…. Can’t find the reply button in comment box after a login, and had to push tab!))

    These same tips can apply to so many things. Flyers, newsletters, etc. all could benefit from following these same rules.

    These are amazing tips. I don’t know if I’m going to write a book anytime soon, I know that I want to in the future, but I am definitely going to use these tips when designing my cover!

    These are great tips. I have several books/ebooks in the works so I will need to be designing my own covers soon.

    This is something I am going to leave to the pros. When I finish my novel, I’m going to hire this out to a cover designer. I have some general ideas of what I want but no skill to make it happen.

    These are great tips. I am writing a ebook and this is so helpful

    This is great advice! I am going to share this with my author friend.

    I have learned some great tips from your blog today. I did not for once think about book cover designs the way you explained it. I guess I need to work more and implement your tips when mine is ready.

    This is a great check list to go over as you are creating a book cover! Thanks for sharing!

    I feel like writing a book now lol this is such a great idea! thank you so much for sharing!

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