Elements of an Effective Book Cover Design

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Never judge a book by its cover.” Well, in the book world, a book is most definitely judged by its cover. Think about it. You’re walking through a bookstore and right in front of you, you see featured books strategically placed on tables, book covers facing outward, drawing your attention. Next to a table you see a 4-foot tall display of a book cover with shelves next to it full of the featured book ready for you to purchase. The bookstore owner knows the power the cover has to convert a shopper to a buyer, and they use the cover for that very purpose. Now, let’s enter the digital world. Take a tour of Amazon.com. Notice that every book has a cover featured, and think back to how many times you’ve scrolled past a book because the cover wasn't intriguing enough or just didn’t convey effectively what the book was about.

A good book cover design is crucial to the success of your book, even if you only plan to publish an eBook.

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What are some things to consider when choosing a design for your cover?

1. The book cover is the first thing a potential reader sees, and leaves a lasting impression (we hope). Our brains are wired to process images faster than words, and an image has the potential to evoke a very strong emotional response in a person. If you were to strip away all the words on your book cover, what would your cover say to a potential reader? What emotions would the potential reader feel? Book cover designs give form to content. Your book cover should communicate to your audience and answer the question, “What is this book about?” Ask yourself, what message am I sharing with my readers? They should have an idea of what that is just by looking at your book cover.

2. Know your audience. If you want people to respond, you need to know who it is you are reaching out to. How can you make your audience think? How can you make them wonder? Once you get them to think and to wonder, you’ve piqued their interest – hopefully enough to get them to buy your book.

3. A good book cover will make it easier to market your book, whether you plan to do your own marketing or hire a marketing team. If your book has a great cover, it will stand out. It will get attention. This is your brand and you want to make sure that your brand is clear, that your name as the author is clear. People will associate your brand not only with this book, but with all your future books as well. If you budget for a quality book cover designer, your investment will pay off for years to come.

What are some of the elements of a good book cover design?

  • Simplicity
  • Smart Color Choice
  • Professional Design
  • Readable Text Style
  • Images That Create an Emotional Connection

A good, quality book cover designed with purpose shows the potential reader that you invested time, effort, and dedication to your book, that you know your audience, and that you are a professional.

All in all, a book cover can make or break the success of a book. Choose your designer wisely, and take a vested interest in the design process of your book. Remember, the book cover reflects on you as an author and on you as a brand.