Creating a quality book cover isn’t as hard as you might think… the actual act of putting it together that is. It’s the search for the perfect images, the perfect fonts, or in some cases, waiting for your illustrator to finish your graphic that takes up time. Once you’ve got all your necessary pieces, there are tons of tutorials out there to help you create a great cover, and even free art programs you can use to do it.
Unfortunately, you can’t just snap your fingers and voila! a great cover magically appears. It takes work, hard work, and just as much sweat and tears as it took for your book to become perfection. You worked hard on that book, didn’t you? Why would you do any less for the cover?
Your cover is the first reaction readers get to your book. Your cover should make a statement, be bold, stand out, a clue to what goodness is between the front and back. Never settle for a so-so cover. Make sure your cover is the best from start to finish. Here are a few questions to ask yourself once your cover is finished, whether you create it or not.
- Is it eyecatching? Don’t be biased or enthralled because someone created something you couldn’t do yourself. Would your cover catch the eye of a reader absently browsing a book store unsure what they want to read?
- Does the front cover text pass the thumbnail test? This means can your title and your name be seen and easily read in thumbnail mode. It should. Those are the 2 most important things on your cover. Make sure they are noticeable. Your back cover text should be easy to read as well. Fancy fonts are great, but not if they can’t be read cleanly. You want people to buy your book, right? Make sure they know what it’s about.
- Is the image on your cover unique? So many designers out there, especially with self-publishing authors, that a lot of free image stock is getting reused over and over. While that is a testament to the photographer, it is bad for your book. You don’t want to have the same image on your book 1,000 of others do. You want your book to stand apart from the rest.
- Clean fonts, genre, and readability. Time New Roman is boring. With so many free font options out there, dress your words up, but make sure they are still clean and easy to read. Find fonts that represent your genre to add an extra touch. Speaking of fonts…
- Ensure commercial use for each and every aspect of your book cover, especially if you don’t create it yourself. Free fonts and images are great, but you can’t just pull an image off Google and use it. They must be free for commercial use. Always check the licensing on each product. Make sure your designer does, too. (Note: Commercial use is considered anything you sell, so unless you offer your book for free with no intent to sell it ever, you must have a commercial license.)
- For self-publishers and self-designers: Make sure the fonts you choose for your cover are embeddable or CreateSpace won’t accept them. To do this, open your font folder, search for the font you’re using and hover on it. On the bottom of your window, on the right side, it will tell you. Print Is considered embeddable.
- Make use of the templates CreateSpace offers to check your cover for spacing. There’s nothing worse than a weirdly spaced cover someone purchased. They won’t be happy, and you’ll look unprofessional. People will second-guess your writing ability. We never want that to happen. Ever.
- Compare your cover with other covers in your genre, with best sellers. How does it compare?
You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to get a top quality cover, which you deserve even if you’re on a budget and don’t know where it would come from. There are talented designers out there willing to work with you. Do your homework, check out their portfolios, ask for references. Don’t settle on a designer because her work is okay, but she’s the most affordable. You should love their work and trust that you’ll get a gorgeous cover for your money. Plus, the right designer will continue working with you until everything is perfect even after full payment has been made. If you aren’t satisfied, and they can’t fix it, they should offer you a refund and point you in the direction of someone who can.
Need a great designer to work with? I’m taking commissions, and I have a few designer friends I can refer you to if I can’t meet your needs. Contact me now for a free estimate. I take payment plans!