Readers do judge your book by its cover. On book sites that are crowded, it’s critical that you stand out from the crowd. This means a great author book cover is a critical tool to selling your book. If readers don’t notice your book, it doesn’t matter how great the content is inside the book. Also, you only have a few seconds to grab their eye and attention.
Stick to Your Genre
Look at the bestselling titles in your category and you will probably see the same visual styles and motifs. This is not a coincidence. Publishers do this for a reason. They want to communicate to the readers that this book is the one they are looking for.
When you browse the Amazon bestsellers in your genre, you should notice patterns in color schemes, fonts, layouts, and images. You’ll want your cover to stand out by looking awesome. However, you should make sure that it naturally fits into your genre.
Use Color to Get Attention
The cover colors you choose should help create the mood and message you are trying to communicate. However, do not use more than 2-3 colors. Complimentary colors (across from each other on the color wheel) tend to work well together, as do analogous colors (next to each other on the color wheel) of combined dark and light tints.
Find Inspiration for your Book Cover
The most important quality of a book cover is the ability to connect with your readers and send a clear message. Consequently, your first place for inspiration should always be other books in your genre.
Shop For Your Cover On Amazon
As you shop on Amazon, keep your eye out for any book covers that stand out, or that you find appealing. Even though you may not need a book cover for particular genre, it can still be helpful to look at the book covers you like and to inspiration.
When you find a book cover image you like on Amazon, right-click and save the image as a file on your desktop. Keep a folder of book covers for later use.
Find Inspiration on Pinterest
One place that’s a gold mine for finding book cover ideas is Pinterest. You can browse boards and pins, then save the ones you like to your profile to refer to later. There are plenty of book cover boards you can browse to see which covers interest you and serve as inspiration for your book’s content, message, and genre.
Free or Paid Images
There are many free images you can use. Try a free stock image library, such as Unspash or Pixabay. They have thousands of images that you can use. For a wider choice of images, try Shutterstock. The license fee may be only a few dollars, depending on what images you are searching for.
Simpler is usually better. Your cover should not be too busy, or contain a mix of too many colors. The image on your cover should cause a reaction when people look at it, such as intrigue, suspense or fear.
Free Book Cover Images
The photos on these sites are free for you to use and alter as long as you give the artist credit. If you use an image for your cover art, check the attribution guidelines to see if there is are specific locations (such as back cover or title page) where artist credit should be given.
Brand Covers in a Series
If you’re an author of a series, choose a common element of the cover to remain the same, such as image, theme, font to enforce your branding as an author.
Thumbnails for Author Book Covers
Look at the small version of your final book cover. Does it look good at thumbnail-size? Shrink your cover down to the size it will be on Amazon and see how it looks. Does it stand out? Can you read the title? Does it make you want to buy it?
Get the typography Correct
Many of us focus on the cover image. However, the font and title design should not be overlooked. Think of the title as your logo. You should create one that stands out and is memorable to the reader. Also, keep in mind there are certain fonts that are ideal for certain genres. There are also fonts that you should not use on your cover.
Typography (use of lettering on the cover) is something almost all non-professional cover designers struggle with. Here are a few tips when using typography.
- See how text is handled on popular covers in your genre. Is the font serif or sans serif? How heavy is the text?
- Variety. Avoid using the same typeface for the title, author name, and tagline — but don’t go crazy. Use 2 or 3 fonts maximum.
- Avoid fonts that are overused. Don’t use Papyrus or Comic Sans.
- Keep the author name smaller than title. Unless you are really famous, the author name should not be larger than the title.
- Don’t include “written by” or “a novel by”. This is not necessary.
- Keep it simple. One of the most common amateur design mistakes is to make the cover far too busy. Less is more.
Do It Yourself – Design A Book Cover
If you want to design your book cover yourself, then you will need to choose your cover design software. There are many software applications that you can use to design a book cover. The following are some cover design software you can use.
- Canva – a free design tool you can use with many book cover templates, including book covers for each genre. Fairly easy to use, but somewhat limited.
- Adobe –Photoshop or InDesign software has a steep learning curve and is not free, but it does allow for much better designs.
eBook Cover Dimensions
Before you start designing your book cover, you need to make sure that the dimensions of your book meet the requirements of where your book will reside. Each market has different requirements and recommendations for book covers.
The table below shows the basic dimensions and file requirements for the most popular self-publishing book sites:
|Publisher||File Format||Cover Size Recommended||Cover Size Requirements|
|Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing||JPEG or TIFF||2,560 x 1,600 pixels
Ideal ratio of 1.6:1
|Between 1,000 x 625 pixels and 10,000 x 10,000 pixels. One side must be at least 1,000|
|Apple iBooks||JPG or PNG||1400 x 1873 or 1600 x 2400 pixels||At least 1400 pixels wide|
|Barnes and Noble||JPG or PNG||Rectangle height & width at least 1400 pixels||Minimum of 750 pixels for height and width|
|Kobo||JPG or PNG||1600 x 2400 pixels||Minimum of 1400 pixels wide|
|Smashwords||JPG or PNG||1600 x 2400 pixels||Minimum of 1400 pixels wide|
Export the correct files
When you export your files, make sure they are in the correct format. The best design in the world won’t matter if you deliver your cover in the wrong format.
For an ebook, export your front cover as a JPEG. If you’re using a POD (Print on Demand) company to sell print copies, you will have to closely follow their individual requirements. This will usually involve producing a PDF of the front, spine and a back cover that has the right resolution and uses the correct color system.
Professional Book Cover Design
A professional designer brings more than just Photoshop skills to the table. Book cover design is a complex balance of images, text, color and information. A designer who specializes in book jackets understands how readers respond to layout, typography, color and design. They understand current trends and know how your cover will compete in the market. Most importantly, they will know how to communicate the right message with your cover.
In summary, a great book designer knows how to convey the right message to the reader with a great cover.
Let’s take a look at how much most professional designers are charging for a book cover.
Average cost of stock image covers
- New book designers charge between $300 and $500
- Experienced designers charge between $500 and $800
- Top-tier, guru cover designers charge between $800 and $1,500
Blue Crab Books Author Book Cover Design
Our expert team has many years of experience in design in a wide variety of genres. Your book cover needs to jump out to be noticed. Blue Crab Books’ designers will create a custom author book cover that attracts readers and projects a professional image.
Blue Crab Books offers a professional and affordable author book cover service. Our team charges much less than most of our competitors. For more information, see our Author Book Cover Design Services:
For more information, see our FAQs