Tips on creating an Effective Book Cover

You have obviously heard the phrase “Never Judge A Book by Its Cover”. The thing is that people do, a book with an uninviting bland cover does not sell. Well to be correct it can sell, but not as well as a book with a great, well designed, inviting cover.

It has been well documented that books with boring covers that have not sold have gone on to be big sellers, simply by the Author changing the cover design.
We have detailed some steps below to help you put together a great book cover design, these tips will work whether you are a talented graphic designer or an author with no design experience.

Your book cover needs to send a clear message so that people can easily see what your book is about and give your audience a quick insight into what to expect if they buy your book. If your book is not something that you are selling, for example a Training manual a software manual or free book the same rules apply.
Non-fiction books should target people’s intellect, whilst fictional books should target your audiences’ emotions. Novel book cover design is something that should create an emotion based on the contents of the book.
If you have the title of your book then you will have an idea of the message that you want your book cover to send.

Look at your Genres

If you look at the genre of your book on Amazon then you will see the color scheme, book cover fonts and book cover layouts. You will also notice a pattern in the images used. You need your book to stand out amongst the other books, however you will also want your book to not look out of place. This is a tricky skill but by studying other books within your genre you will see a pattern that you can aim towards.
If you go against the grain of the audience your book will end up in front of the wrong audience and you won’t get to sell as many. The books that you do sell could also not meet the expectations of the cover and create a bad review. Not because there is anything wrong with the consent but because you have hit the wrong audience.

You can scroll through various book covers that you like on Amazon and save to your desktop or create a pinboard on Pinterest that you can refer to for inspiration.

Choose a designer or Design yourself

If you are a designer then you should use a professional design package like InDesign or Photoshop to create your cover. If you are not a designer then we’d strongly recommend that you get a design agency onboard to create your cover.
If, however you don’t have the budget, or the book is for personal or small runs and you are not aiming for the Times Best Sellers list you can still design a book cover using various software and book cover packages yourself.

There are some great online book cover design packages online including CreativINDIE . This site has some free templates and tutorials all based towards bestselling book principles that work for bestselling books.

Canva is also a decent book designing tool for beginners, its limited to what you can do but easy to use, and cheaper than hiring a designer.

Word is also an easy program to use. Its not the best by a long way but it will work. Have a look at this tutorial on YouTube

If you do want to have a more professional book cover and you do decide to use a creative studio, or graphic design agency then making a cover yourself using one of the options above and then sending to a designer will be more cost effective and also give your designer a better understanding of what you are ultimately looking to achieve.

Book Cover Design Fonts

The font that you use on your book cover is a really important part of book cover design. The font is like the logo of your book. The font should be a font that relates to your book and emphasizes the feeling that you want to generate in your readers when reading your book. Each genre has a set of fonts that are something to that genre. So, for an example if you wanted to create a children’s book then the font should be simple and easy to read, where as a font used on the cover of a Romantic Novel would be a more script written font.

What Colour should I use For My Book Cover?

Colours are really important in the creation of your book cover. The main colours on your book cover will influence people’s decision to pick up your book over another. Most book covers work best when using either two or three colours. To add excitement and energy to your book cover use colours opposite each other on the colour wheel. To create harmony and peacefulness we’d suggest using analogous colours (colours next to each other on the colour wheel).

Using plain white or cream backgrounds will create a clean and simple image. Darker colours will create a serious and authorotive image. If your book is going to be something more sensual then pale colours like pink, purples and light blues.

Think about the mood that you want to create when picking your book cover, if the book is a romance novel then pinks, purples and pale colours will work well. If you are creating a wedding book then the same colours could work well too. If you are creating a book that you want to create a sense of well being and health then look at colours like bright blue or bright greens.

What Picture Should I use for my book cover?

A simple image is always better on a book cover. If your book cover image is too busy or has too much going on everything ng gets lost and your book won’t look professional or stand out. The image that you use on the cover of your book should literally tell 1000 words itself. The image has to tell a story on its own and create an emotional reaction to your potential audience. You can purchase images from sites like and Dreamstime is also a good resource for images.
When picking an image always remember to use an image that is both royalty free and high resolution. If your image is not royalty free you could get hit by a fine down the line and if it is not high resolution it will look good online but when it comes to printing it will look ‘blocky’ and pixelated.

Summing Up.

Hopefully this article on design your book cover has helped you and given you ‘food for thought’ regarding your book cover design. To sum up we have created a checklist below for creating your cover.

Does your book cover sum up an emotional response
Does your book cover fit in with other books of the same genre
Does your book cover use a clear font
Do the colours that you have picked suit your books image and genre?
Is your book clear and to the point?

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