In the era of self-publishing, a new author's book may live or die by its cover. Cover images and titles must be clearly discernible as thumbnail images on ecommerce websites. They must also be eye-catching and genre-appropriate on the store shelf or book promotional table at an event.
So, how do you create a book cover that generates sales? Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Find a designer who has created other book covers. This is not to say that a graphic designer who has never created a book cover can't create one now, but experienced designers will know all of the particulars needed to create a book cover front, spine and back that plays nice with printers as well images for sites like Amazon. They will usually also have meaningful, productive questions to ask you before they begin your project.
2. Know your book's audience. If you are writing your book for 14-year-old girls, then talk to some 14-year-old girls about what would catch their eye. Have some samples created and get their feedback. The same would apply to any target audience; find a sample group of at least 3 people and listen to what they have to say (they will probably be great ambassadors once your book is published as well!).
3. Make sure your book's message is conveyed through its cover. Can you summarize your book's message in one sentence? You should be able to - and keep this message in mind when considering book cover design drafts.
4. Target an emotion. What do you want your audience to feel as they read your book? Try to capture that emotion on the cover.
5. Be open to something completely different than what is in your head. Many authors have a pre-conceived idea of how their cover should look. This is often a mistake. Let the designer get creative and then share their design drafts with other people (preferably your target audience) to get their reactions and feedback.
6. Consider getting input on social media. If you have a presence on social media, don't be afraid to share the design drafts with a bigger audience. Some of the comments and suggestions may surprise you. You don't have to accept any of them, but it's likely that someone will offer something you hadn't considered before.
7. Find a printer that specializes in book publishing, like us! Not all printers are equipped to produce a hard or soft cover book that has a professional, clear and durable cover.
If you're an author or designer and would like to share your tips and thoughts about the book cover process, we'd love to hear from you.