Your book cover plays an important role when it comes to selling your book and yet, all too often, authors treat it as something of an afterthought. The truth is that you need to put considerable time, research and thought into the design of your cover. Get it right and you will reap the rewards but, get it wrong, and you could be left scratching your head and wondering why nobody is buying your book.
There are a number of things that you need to consider when designing a book cover and here are just seven things to help get you started.
1. Think like a book buyer.
Although people do still browse the shelves of their local bookstore, the majority of people today shop for books online using sites like Amazon. This means that buyers will not be looking at a full-sized version of your book, which they can pick up and inspect, but will be seeing your book initially as a small thumbnail alongside a number of other thumbnails for books in your genre. So, as you design your cover keep asking yourself how it will look when viewed as a small graphic image.
2. Go window shopping.
Before you start designing your own cover, hop online and go window shopping for your book by looking on a site like Amazon at those books that will form your competition. As you browse through the books available look carefully at those that stand out – both positively and negatively. What works and why? What does not work and why? While you do not want to copy others, there is nothing wrong with looking to other authors for inspiration and also with learning from their mistakes.
3. Steer clear of overused themes.
How many books about personal finance have you seen with a piggy bank or a pile of dollar bills on the cover? Your book cover should be new, fresh and unique so don’t go down those well worn design paths which have been followed by so many authors ahead of you.
4. Stay within the bounds defined by your genre.
If you look through the bestseller lists for your genre you will notice some patterns in certain areas such as, the images chosen, the color schemes employed and the fonts selected. Generally, there will be a fair degree of flexibility within these patterns and you clearly want your book to stand apart from the others. However, be wary of trying to stray too far from the pattern that readers in your genre expect to see.
5. Power up your creativity on Pinterest.
Pinterest has many hundreds of boards devoted exclusively, or in large part, to book covers and it is a great place to get inspiration. More particularly, you can set up your own board for your book (even making it a private board if you want to) and can save pins as you find them to review at a later date. A few days of adding pins as you have the time will soon build a sizable board for you to study at your leisure. This is a great way to refine your ideas for your finished cover.
6. Identify the key message of your book.
Before you begin your cover design take a piece of paper and write down in a single, short sentence the one key message that your book conveys. Then, once you have an outline for your design, ask yourself if it too conveys this message. If it does, that is great. However, if it does not, then you need to go back to the drawing board.
7. Know your limitations.
Most authors should be able to complete the steps above without too much difficulty and to come up with several ideas for a book cover. It is then simply a question of whether or not you have the skills, and the tools, to build your cover. Your cover is critical to the success of your book and so, if you do not have personal experience of building a cover, seek professional help. Cover creation does not have to cost an arm and a leg and most authors are surprised at just how affordable it can be to outsource this particular task.