Ten tips for your book cover

A short guide for authors

book cover designer

You should take the design of your book cover just as seriously as the editing of your manuscript. The harmony of the design determines your book success.

The cover of your book will decide if you will win the interest of a potential reader.

Whether your readers are in a bookstore and looking at the designed books, or browsing the ebook covers on the Internet, if your cover does not convince, you’ll hardly ever win a new reader.

The tips listed here are by no means exhaustive. See them as a piece of advice on what to look for when creating your book cover. In addition, design is a very subjective area, so if you want to add something or contradict a point, then like.

1. Strong title

The title of your book should be concise, clear, and big on your cover . This means that the title can be the width of your book and more than a third of the height. However, the focus / most expressive part of your image should not be obscured by the title, but should be clearly positioned above or below it so that the title and the cover image form a whole.

Keep in mind when designing your book cover that the reader will most likely first encounter your book as an e-book, usually just as a small preview image (thumbnail). All the more important is the size of the title and the picture – it has to be able to recognize what your book is called and can see the picture.

2. The promise to the reader

Every reader has his preferences for specific stories and genres. So it’s even more important that every customer can see your cover, whether it’s a love story, a western, a thriller, a thriller, or a guidebook. So he immediately knows if your story meets his preferences or not.

For the expectation that a reader has of your story through the cover , the cover should fit the genre of your story . This means that you are using the appropriate font, a color combination that is either harmonious (eg pastel colors for romances) or opposite with signal color (eg dark background and red for blood thriller) or complementary (eg turquoise and magenta for guidebook), as well an image that reveals a spark of action.

3. The cover is not a dumping place

When you think about the premise of your story, you commit it in one sentence. Exactly this thought – crisp and in a nutshell – you should pay attention to the cover design of your book. Nothing is worse than a cover composed of so many frames that the core of your story is completely lost. Just imagine, if you can not confine yourself to any key message in the cover, then the reader assumes that your story has no clear message.

4. No duplications

Your readers are not stupid. If your novel is called “Firestorm,” and the cover shows a conflagration, that’s a nonspecific duplication. The reader sees a conflagration, he does not have to be told that (and vice versa). 
Note that title and cover image should complement each other . Use them to convey a sense of your story.

In addition, cover must tell the reader nothing or anticipate. A first impression, the first feeling and thus the clear understanding for the promise of your story are more important here.

The cover may show a conflagration, but then choose a title that may contradict the image. So you create curiosity with the viewer of your cover, and want to know more about your story.

5. Cheap one recognizes

There are people who have a sense of design, and there are people who know that they have to do design tasks . And then there’s a small group that thinks design is not a craft – just as some people think anyone could write a book.

Since you have been writing yourself, you will understand how much knowledge and experience is needed to write a story that it works. The same goes for the design. A cover must work – it must be able to sell your story.

That’s why I’m asking you, if you’re not a designer, then make the cover design of your book. The cover is the heart of your story and the missing puzzle piece for the complete work. It is all the more important that a cover makes a professional impression – because this impression is reflected in the expected quality of your story.

6. The tasks of the book cover

The design of your book cover should work just like your story.

But how do you achieve that? 
First of all, your book cover should stand out from the mass of covers / e-books, so that the potential reader is encouraged to pull your book off the shelf or click it.

Furthermore, and most importantly, your cover does not have to tell stories. We know that there is a story in the book, but what counts are the emotions that your book cover awakens in the viewer. Only the emotions decide the interest, because they should express the mood of your story.

If your book belongs to a series, then the series should have a recognition value. See your book as a brand that is easily recognizable only in writing, form and composition.

7. Colors

This is where most problems arise. Color theory is a complex subject, and to understand it requires the right feeling and curiosity to experiment.

But for the first understanding I give you the following advice:

  • If you use strong colors, then put them on a background where they can work
  • use contrasts
  • limit yourself to a maximum of three colors
  • avoid pure primary colors
  • mix your own colors together, in the nuances of strong colors
  • put together a matching color palette that matches the mood of your story (eg with the help of coolors.com )

8. Freiraum

Trying, tasting, tasting seems to be the best motto for creating a harmonious open space, so that the composition of your design elements (font, image, shapes) is balanced.

Many believe that if the ebook is only seen as a thumbnail, they will have to crack the whole cover surface completely. Fat writing here, bright red edges there, a strong image there … that resembles a competition of all the elements. The eye of the beholder loses its focus point. It can not filter out what the priorities are. Everything seems to be important, so nothing is important again. 
Give your elements room to breathe and they will work for you. That’s the same as writing. If you pack too many adjectives or words into a sentence, or too many descriptions in a metaphor / comparison, that confuses the reader. Good writing depends on the balance of the reader’s imaginary freedom with your narrative. It’s the same with design.

9. Do not decide alone

The nice thing these days is that you can reach a large number of people in just a few clicks. So post the various design variations of your book cover and let your followers / fans decide which design they would find / would most like to buy. Maybe they also have some advice for you. Criticism is also an important factor that you should include in the design process of your perfect book cover for your story.

10. No way

When creating your cover, keep in mind that none of the following errors can be found on your cover:

  • Do not use fonts like Comic Sans or Papyrus – unless you’re writing a book about witty sayings, etc. Professional publishers would laugh at you otherwise.
  • As with corporate design for businesses, you are limited to a few fonts. Two are optimal. (Title and name of the author) 
    Please also refrain from adapting the font by distortions or to put them in capital.
  • No matter how much you love your friends, colleagues, or your family, charity has no place in the question of your cover. Neither the offer of a friend who would make a cover for you with Paint, nor your child’s cracker image, nor any clipart compilation in a Word document.
  • Let the picture breathe. Do not lock it in a box or frame, but let it stick out to the edge and even be cut by it.
  • Please do not use gradients. Depending on the print quality, these are output in stripes and colorful courses are childish.
  • 3D fonts, hard shadows, etc. should be avoided, because they also bear witness to an amateurish book cover design