Designing a book cover has never been easier.
With the help of online resources, as well as freelance graphic designers and even online tools that offer book design services, the possibilities can be endless.
One of the most exciting things when it comes to publishing your book is having your book cover designed – and I bet you’re eager to rush into it! However there are a few things you should take into consideration before going full speed ahead. You might of spent up to years or decades writing this book, so why rush into the cover design process? These next few questions should make it easier to design the cover of your dreams
1. What will appeal to my target audience?
Take into consideration that the way you have written your story for a specific audience – you should apply similar values to your book cover design, as this allows the audience to immediately identify with the work. Consider what images, typography and composition styles that will resonate with your readers. A book that is based on personal health and nutrition may attract readers with images that relate to the benefits of exercise, which gives the reader a feeling of ‘you can do it too – if you buy this book’. Another example could be using an image of a government building, or smart vector graphics if your book is about politics or business. A great way to get started is to do your market research – have a look to see what sells in your genre, and what doesn’t. This doesn’t necessarily mean copy other author’s ideas, but more to get a feel for what drives a readers interest.
2. What style of imagery will reflect my story most?
Choosing an image to use on your cover is a daunting task. There are multiple styles of imagery you can use on your cover – the most important being photographic, illustrative or vector based. Non-fiction have less opportunity to play around with imagery as its much more literal – where as fictional books have more opportunity to be abstract and expressive. This isn’t to say both can fall into either category. You will know more than anyone what style of image will convey the tone you are trying to get across, so keep your options open for different styles – illustration can open a whole new world of imagination to the reader. Do some research in your local library and see what style of imagery are popular and which aren’t.
You may have to rely upon stock imagery if you cannot afford an illustrator or photographer – this isn’t necessarily a negative as with most stock image websites they hold millions of images, which means that the image you choose is less likely to be seen on another cover. Another problem with this though is that depending on the popularity of the image it may have been used before – however this is a rarity – do your research and
3. What will make my book stand out above the rest in its genre?
To appeal to your target readers you want your book to look similar in style to others in its genre, as then readers will be drawn to your cover. However, you don’t want to blend in with the rest of the bookshelf – you want to stand out. Designing your cover at thumbnail size helps to give you the eye for having maximum impact, even from a far distance. Another method is to take your book cover design a step further than most by avoiding genre-generic images, using an image that will bring intrigue and draw a reader in wanting to know more. An example of this would be using an image of an empty staircase for a psychological thriller – take a look at these examples. Think outside the box.
4. How do I want to be represented as an author?
As your reader will know more about your book cover then your book’s first paragraph, it’s a great opportunity to show your uniqueness. Your will have a never-ending relationship with your cover as you’re the author, so you need to make sure you are confident with its message and tone.
5. What style of font do I want to use?
As your book cover design will be a combination of elements that makes it the pièce de résistance, you need to make sure every little detail is perfect. This is why the typography you use matters – not only does it give detail into what your book’s genre is or what it entails, but it also gives off a sense of professionalism above other covers who have not considered typography well. When choosing your font, go for one that brings excitement to your cover or adds to the feel of it as opposed to choosing one which is boring in terms of style and the only real purpose its serving is to be legible.
Be aware that there are more fonts out there than what appears in your computer’s library. The Internet hosts a wide range of websites such as dafont.com that have fonts available free for commercial use, however the more popular the font the more likely you are to see it somewhere else. Websites such as MyFonts.com allows you to try and buy typefaces, so you can find one that is individual to you.
If you’re still not sure about sharing a typeface with another author, you can always contact a graphic designer who will create a custom typeface – just like JK Rowling and the Harry Potter series.