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Top Tips For Book Cover Design

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

Designing a book cover can be overwhelming, there are a number of different aspects to even consider! You might be sitting reading this right now not even knowing where to start … but don't worry I'm here to help! If you're not quite at the designing your book cover stage yet, you can find our blog post on the ‘Top Ten Tips for Self-publishing’ as a great place to start.

A book cover design can mean the difference between your novel reaching the right audience and making sales or being a complete flop. So I am going to take you through some of the main elements to consider when designing a cover for your book. These things will help you have a clear direction and will allow you to articulate that with your designer too!

1. What formats will your book be sold in?

Firstly consider what formats you want to release your book in. There are a number of different formats so ensuring you know exactly what you want beforehand will help make the process much smoother. You may only want to release it in ebook format available to read only on devices or you may also want to release it in paperback too.

There are other options, such as Audio (the cover sizing for this is square unlike the ebook cover). There is also the option of hardback, this is available from both KDP and Ingram Spark. KDP has recently introduced this option and is just the hardback cover, however, IngramSpark offers hardback with a dust jacket, please see the image below for the difference between the two options.

Stocks and Lies by C.N. Marie hardback by KDP.

The Facilitator and Fallen Angel by Tracie Podger hardback by Ingram Spark.

There are also Vella covers and Wattpad which are all in different sizes so make sure you know which cover you require. It may be, like many of my authors, that you have it released in all formats.

2. Research Market Trends

When releasing any book it's vital to take a look at current market trends. Take a look at Amazon bestsellers within your particular genre or area. For example, if you are releasing a Paranormal Romance, you want to consider the current best sellers within that genre. If you go to amazon and select books, select romance, and then paranormal romance you can actually see the best sellers currently within that genre. This will allow you to see your competition and consider the themes that will help get your book to the correct audience, for example, someone looking for paranormal would not look at an illustrated cover for example as this is more likely to be found within the romantic comedy or contemporary romance in the current trends.

You can also take a look at the New York Times Bestsellers list. By doing this research you are ensuring you’re targeting the correct market.

3. Choosing your design direction

After conducting some market research you will have a better idea of what type of cover will help your book get noticed. Now it's time to put some of the main design concepts together.

My favourite way of doing this is a Pinterest board. This way you can pin covers that you like, images that represent your characters, colour themes, textures, fonts, etc. A Pinterest board is a great way to put some ideas together for what you may like your book cover to represent! This way you can share your board with your designer and they can see what elements they think will work and together you can create an incredible cover that not only represents your book but will reach the hands of the right readers!

Creating a Pinterest board does not only help in custom designs, it can also help you know what you want when it comes to looking for premade designs. I always encourage my authors to ask me if they're looking for something specific that I may already have as a premade cover. When opting for a premade cover this helps keep costs lower than a custom design.

If the cover you are looking for is not on my website please do ask as I am still in the process of uploading many covers for purchase, you can find my premade covers here.

4. Consider your budget

Budget is a sticking point for many authors especially those new to self-publishing. You should always have a budget in mind when looking for a designer. This will allow you to find a designer within your individual bracket.

As a designer, I am part of a wonderful group called Book Cover Design Lounge, here you will find a number of designers with all different price brackets but many authors also post here with their price brackets and specifications for what they are looking for.

For example, if you are on a higher budget you can opt for a photographer's image which is only sold once, and all exclusive rights are handed over to the author to use the image as they wish. Please see below a few of our premade covers made from exclusive images. These are priced individually, dependent on the price charged by both the model and the photographer.

Those authors on a lower budget may opt for premade or custom designs using stock photography. These come with a royalty-free licence however these images will not be exclusively for you as an author.

Some may even opt to design their covers themselves in order to cut costs, but let's go back to the second point, understanding market trends, always keep in mind that your cover next to others needs to look professional and in keeping with those it will be ranked against.

I've completed lots of custom designs for my clients you can take a look at my portfolio here.

If you would like to book a custom slot with me, you can book a four-hour slot for a custom design with me here.

You can follow our blog posts via My Wix or feel free to sign up for our Newsletter, where we are now giving away a FREE book launch checklist!

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