You finally did it. You added that last period to the end of your book and sent it off to your editor. Now it’s time to start thinking about a book cover. The cover to your book is critically important. When you ask an independent author what the purpose of their cover is you will get a variety of different answers.
Things like, “To look amazing.” or “To draw readers in.” This is how I thought about my books when I first started too, but in reality these are not good answers. Especially if you want to sell books. The purpose of your cover is to make potential buyers click on your listing on whichever retailer you choose. You must do the research for your book and you must judge your book by its cover.
If this is new to you, don’t feel bad. I have made my own cover faux pas. For example, my first book, Lithium Dreams and Melancholy Sunrise, had the title written in cursive. I thought it looked great at the time but over the years discovered that it made my title hard to read. I recently changed the font and it looks much better now.
Judge Your Book by Its Cover.
Here are some tips to help make your next book cover the best it can be.
Do Your Research-You can’t make a decision about your cover on your own. Go on Amazon and look in the category that you are writing. What do the covers look like? (While you’re at it, check out titles too. How many words do they have? Is there a common keyword that pops up? This is also important.)
Colors-Look at the colors of the books in your category. Are they dark or are they light? Do they have dark colors, bright colors, or pastels? What is the main background color?
Make sure it looks good in Black &White-Did you know that most Amazon Kindles are in black and white? I had no idea, I just learned this recently. When people see the image of your book on Amazon it is slightly bigger than a postage stamp.
This means that if you have the wrong color contrast, it can make your image look muddy or like a black square in black and white. Therefore, it is critical that your book cover looks good in both color and black and white.
More Tips for a Great Cover.
Congruency-The art and images you use must go with the title of your book. For example, no one is going to buy a diet book with candy bars on the cover or a book about baking cakes with images of vegetables. Make sure everything goes together.
Covers for a series-If you are writing a series, make sure you have consistency. For example, I use the same artist to design my Boys Will Be Boys Series. Although the color of each book may be different, the characters ‘look’ similar in artistic style and the font is always the same.
Hire a Professional-I don’t care if you are the best graphic artist in the world, hire a professional who does this for a living. You can find reasonable cover designers on Fiverr. My illustrator and cover designer for my children’s books, Jeanine Henning, does design for adult books as well and you can look at her work here.
Things to include in your order are the art you want to use, links to books in your category and the title. Also, if you can afford to hire 2 or 3 people to design for you, it will help you have more options.
Make sure you have enough dpi- If you are uploading to CreateSpace and Amazon, make sure your print covers are 300 dpi. This stands for dots per inch and if the resolution is any lower, your print image will look terrible, also make sure you have a back cover and spine designed too. If you are publishing an e-book, the image resolution should be 72 dpi.
I have definitely learned a lot about what makes a great book cover and I feel confident that my next one is going to be amazing. Most importantly, I’m confident that it will get readers to click and buy.
What about you? Where are you in the book cover process? Are you redoing one or designing the next one? Did you find these tips helpful? I would love to know so please hit me up in the comments.