7 Book Cover Design Tips for New Authors

book cover design tips

7 Book Cover Design Tips for New Authors

If you’re setting out down the self-publishing road and looking for book cover design tips, then you’ve come to the right place!


When it comes to book cover design tips, it’s important to understand your limitations. While it’s great to try and self-publish your book on a budget, or DIY, there are some aspects that are best left to the professional cover designers.

Your book cover is the first point of contact with any reader and needs to make a massive first impression. If they like the look of your cover, they’ll read the description, and once those two points line up, if they like what they’ve read and seen, they’ll buy your book.

However, if the cover doesn’t grab them instantly, they’ll never make it to the book description, regardless of how good it is. We all say, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover,’ but we still do it anyway.

There has been a variety of surveys done on what customers look for when they’re buying a book, and approximately 50-80% will look at the cover first before they take the next step. In the following article, we’ll be looking at 7 book cover design tips to help make your next book cover stand out from the crowd!

The book cover design tips we’ll be focusing on are:

  1. Give Your Readers a Sneak Peak
  2. Let Your Reader Know What Genre Your Book Is
  3. Introduce the Protagonist
  4. Set the Tone
  5. Follow the Design Rules for Your Genre
  6. Don’t Forget the Details
  7. Create a Distinct Style

book cover design tips7 Book Cover Design Tips You Must Know Before You Design Your Next Cover!

1. Give Your Readers a Sneak Peak

How much should you give away with your cover design? You want to give potential readers enough to draw them in but not so much that they know everything about your book and what’s going to happen. The cover should give them a general idea of what they’re going to find between the front and back cover.

You want your book cover to give potential readers a hint at the overall plot and theme of your story without giving away any spoilers.


2. Let Your Reader Know What Genre Your Book Is

Your cover needs to let any potential readers know what genre your book is. While most people are open to various genres, your cover needs to match your book’s genre.

For example, if your cover has a spy or a fighter jet, but inside, it’s a romance book, some readers are going to read the description and put the book down again. In the same way, if someone’s looking for a romance book, they may completely overlook yours if the cover looks more like a spy thriller.


3. Introduce the Protagonist

Regardless of what your protagonist is, your readers need to build a connection with them in order to feel compelled to read your book. If you can create a connection between the reader and the protagonist before your readers turn the first page, you’ll be way ahead of the game.

You need to try and use your book cover to begin building that connection between reader and protagonist. It could be a photo or illustration of your main character or something which signifies them, like their signature item of clothing or favorite car.


4. Set the Tone

Book covers have a dominant tone. It could be romance, love, humor, mystery, terror, or much more. While your book may have splashes of other tones, your cover should portray your dominant tone to your readers so that you attract the right readers.

If the main tone of your book is humor, then the cover needs to show that clearly to potential readers. Think about the colors you use, the images, and the fonts. Serious fonts have no place on humorous book covers, and funny fonts have no place on the cover of horror books.


5. Follow the Design Rules for Your Genre

Your book cover design isn’t a free for all where you can do whatever you want. There are very specific guidelines and rules which you should follow if you want to create a book cover.

Try to use fonts that are specific to your genre and also easy to read. Utilize text hierarchy on your cover to emphasize the most important pieces of text. Build a contrast between any background colours and the text to enable your text to lift off the page. Choose colours that match your genre and trigger the right emotional response from potential readers.


6. Don’t Forget the Details

What sets a professional book cover apart from an amateur book cover? The details.

The details are what allow you to elevate your book cover design to the next level. Think about things like shading, lighting, image treatment, image arrangement, layers, and text hierarchy.

Once you have the basic outline of your cover design done, it’s time to move on to the finer details and make sure that everything is working together perfectly.


7. Create a Distinct Style

Do you know what doesn’t help set your book apart from everyone else’s books? Designing the same cover as every other book on the shelf. If you want your vehicle to fly off the shelves or website, it must have its distinct style and flair.

This can be tricky to achieve. It’s hard to stay within the rules and guidelines of designing the perfect cover but still ensure it has its own style and flair.


Back Cover Elements

Once the front cover is ready to ‘wow’ potential readers, it’s time to look at your back cover. If you’re only releasing an ebook, you don’t need to worry about the back cover as they only have a front cover.

Things that you need to consider including on your back cover:

Your book description or blurb should be the focus on your back cover because if someone picks up your book based on the front cover, then you need to convince them to take the next step and buy it with the description.

If you’re doing a hardcover version of your book, you’ll also need a hardcover version of your cover. All self-publishing platforms, such as IngramSpark and Amazon KDP, have their own cover templates, which must be used when designing your book cover so that your cover files are the correct size when uploaded.

When you publish an ebook, the back cover description is uploaded and displayed along with your book’s cover image.


Spine Elements

The final element of your book cover is the spine. Remember, a lot of bookstores display most of their books with the spine facing outward. Keep your spine simple and impactful.

It’s important to note that the spine of your book depends on the size of the book and how many pages it has. If your book is under a certain size or not long, then it may not have space on the spine at all.

Typically, your spine includes the title, which should be the most prominent, the author’s name, and a small publisher imprint logo.


7 Book Cover Design Tips for New Authors – Conclusion

Hopefully, with the book cover design tips we’ve covered above, you can make an excellent first impression on your next book cover. If you’ve been struggling to develop a book cover design that does your book justice, then Author Services Australia is here to help!

Your book deserves the best chance of success, and a premium book cover design is an important part of self-publishing. If you would like to learn more about how you can get a premium book cover designed for your ebook, paperback, fiction, non-fiction, memoir, biography, or children’s book, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us directly. Our friendly and professional team is standing by to assist you with your book cover inquiries.

Need any assistance with self-publishing, such as ghostwriting, editing, formatting, cover design, or uploading? Don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us directly. Our friendly and professional team is always happy to help.

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