Skilled authors contracted to a publisher will have a professional book cover designer create their killer book cover for their novel or non-fiction book.
Self-published authors must fend for themselves and use a DIY graphic program or independent book cover designer.
Books with amateur covers sell poorly or go out of print quickly. A poorly-designed cover tells the book reading public that you didn’t care enough about your work to make a good first impression.
Your readership will see the cover of your book first before they even read a blurb, review or an excerpt. Take time to make your book cover art and typography appealing – and suitable for the type of book you’re selling. Increase your chances of joining best-selling authors by following these book cover design tips.
Truth be told; people really do judge a book by its cover. I’ll show you how to make it count.
1. Use an Eye-Catching Original Design
I work with many self-published authors who are on a budget. Some of them put little thought into their book covers. It may take them a few minutes to find a stock photo, use a common font for the book title, and then assume the book is ready to be uploaded to Kindle or Createspace.
You can take the “book cover as an afterthought” approach like these authors and save time. Unfortunately, this ten-minute or less design process results in low to no sales, and worse yet, internet ridicule.
The book cover design becomes even more critical if you want a hardcover or paperback version of your book. Consumers may forgive less-than-stellar design on an inexpensive e-book, but a cheap cover on a hard copy makes them think the writing inside matches the tacky artwork.
If a prospective reader is going to invest in a physical copy of your book, odds are you’ll have to win them over with a great visual experience that draws them in.
You probably spent months, or even years, perfecting your manuscript. Now that the writing and editing have ended, marketing begins. The hard work continues even after writing ceases. Authors who consider the book cover and book blurb as an ongoing part of their marketing campaign will sell more books than other writers.
Some writers have fantastic ideas for book covers but lack the artistic skills to bring their vision to life. Others grasp onto any idea just to get the book done and out in the marketplace. The author who settles on a book cover design with little regard for how the potential reader will react to it is wasting a valuable marketing resource.
Hire the best book designer you can afford. Talk to people who have experience in designing book covers. A general graphic designer won’t know how to place type and photos or illustrations for maximum impact.
Some websites and services offer book design templates for authors who lack the funds to hire a designer. You should hire a designer – even a freelancer off Craigslist- if you can.
Using a template will give you better results than designing from scratch if you want to release your self-published book quickly and have no cash. Template covers look generic, and won’t do anything to attract readers with thousands of thumbnail images beckoning to them from the internet.
Some services offer pre-made covers and will add your name and book title for a small fee. “Off-the-rack” covers look professional but lack the immediacy and individuality a pro designer offers.
Avoid using posed stock photos or tacky 3D images, which make many romance novels covers a lot cheesier than the writing inside the book.
Photos or illustrations should serve your marketing message as well as the book’s subject/story. Once you have the image you want, you then need to position it on the cover in an appropriate way. A pro book designer will know how to center the picture, arrange and proportion the type, and use the right background color to make the design “pop.”
Mimicking what you’ve seen on a best-seller may get your book noticed, but it can be a turn-off once a potential buyer sees it as a poor copy of the original. To get your book noticed, take the time to test ideas for an original cover that portrays your characters and plot for fiction or subject matter (non-fiction). Keep the cover simple but to the point. Readers will often value originality.
2. Relaying a Visual Message to Your Potential Audience
The design elements should convey what is between the covers. If you have a paranormal romance, you can use some of the popular visual elements of that genre – the moon, clouds, candles – but work on a unique design to differentiate your book from the others in the genre.
Non-fiction book writers have more choices than fiction writers when it comes to book covers. If you browse through Amazon, you’ll notice some best-selling non-fiction books have typography on the cover and limited visuals.
A photo of the author or simple drawing or graphic of the general subject will suffice for many non-fiction books. Some books have the title in bold typography and a subtitle on the front cover.
You need to think about what will draw your potential reader to the book and what you’re attempting to sell them on. For example, be sure the cover indicates the type of story between the book cover if you have written a horror novel. In-your-face horror book covers can be graphic and bloody; subtle psychological stories need a book cover that hints at the macabre.
3. Find the Right Typography
Slapping on Times Roman, Arial or any other font on your book cover without putting any effort into it can cause problems that may go viral. Communicate with your designer about what you want. Work with your designer on a compromise if your idea can be improved upon or altered,
A designer will experiment with fonts and type sizes to see what looks right to the wandering eye; more specifically, your target market. You want to use a font and color that won’t blend in with the background visuals, rendering the title illegible.
The font style you use should be a mix of sharp, professional, and eye-catching.
The Last Page
Hiring a professional book cover designer will increase your chances of attracting readers who will buy your book and look forward to your next one. Take the time to find a book cover designer and develop an attractive cover concept. It will be well worth the extra time and money.fart