Designing A Cover For Your Book - A Guide for Self Publishers


In these days of computers, the internet, digital cameras, and on-line publishing companies, individuals can more easily express their creativity through writing and publishing their own written works. Whether it is a novel, a short story, or a how to guide, having a creative cover is important to help capture the attention of your audience. There is that old saying, "You can't tell a book by its cover" is so true, but your job as an author is to make sure that the cover best reflects your written works. With the growth of E-books and on-line books, having a well designed cover is even more important. The web surfer can quickly have tens if not hundreds of books at their fingertips, but why should they select your book over another? Without spending many dollars in marketing, one of the best tools at your disposal is a cover that will get their attention and hopefully pique their interest to make a purchase. If you are writing on a topic that already has many similar topics, such as "Vegetable Gardening", you have to compete even more for the consumers dollars.

You could purchase the different graphics tools of go off to a company to design your cover for you. Most of the covers that you are familiar with in a book store cost hundreds of dollars to design, and in some cases thousands. Now whether you are writing 10 pages or 5000 pages, this article will give you some basic ideas that will help you design your next book cover into one that is different, unique and personal. Remember that a well done book cover will boost your sales.

Designing A Cover For Your Book

- A guide for self publishers -

You have already expressed your creative side by writing a book, now lets express your artistic side. By using a collection of clip art, or a low cost digital camera coupled with some imagination can open the door for you to create unique cover that portrays your writings. Even with that saying, "You can't tell a book by its cover", the cover definitely gets attention. Think of the book cover as a marketing tool that promotes not only your book, but you as the author.

Software packages like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator have many capabilities that allow you to customize your pictures and illustrations. The question often asked is; "What should I do?" The intent of this article is to give you a few ideas to spark your creativity and see what fits your personality. Our focus has been on pet and automotive art, so we will use an automotive car show judging guide as an example, although these ideas can be applied to many other topics.

With E-Books and on-line publications, having an elaborate cover is a one time upfront cost since there is no printing involved, so it is worth it to do it right since the book revenue in part will be dependent upon the cover.

Publishers for hard copied books have the ability to use different papers, and cover media such as foil, and other eye catching materials. On-line publishing has to leverage the graphics appeal to grab the readers eye and entice them to read further. A brief list of tips to consider when designing your book cover is as follows:

1. Always try to use high resolution images (clear and crisp) for any initial artwork. You can always lower the resolution later on.

2. As an author, if you expect to have multiple books you may wish to have a common theme where there may be a similar layout or border between books. Define your own brand identity.

3. Design your a layout with layers giving a three dimensional effect. For example the palm tree in the background of the "Pet Photography Book Example".

4. Some customers will also print out their book, so you want a design that is printable, and will still look good. Make sure that what ever resolution you use is sufficient for printing. Typically 150 DPI will work unless there is intricate details that may require higher resolution.

5. For best versatility and color representation use RGB color specifications versus CMYK.

6. Hard copied books use different cover effects to catch the readers eyes, such as fabrics, and embossing. You want to obtain a similar visual effect, so use different background textures to give a feel like cloth, diamond plate, fabric with out them being too pronounced. Select something that relates to the content. One example we used was a diamond plate border for an automotive engine book. The rugged diamond plate linked nicely to the bold metal engines.

7. Remember your target audience. If it is children, select clip art that they can relate to. For hobbyist, try to incorporate some aspect of the hobby on the cover.

8. Do not clutter the cover too much with images or text. It can make it difficult to read on line.

Use visual effects that reflect the contents and the value it brings to the reader. A consumer is more likely to purchase a book f they perceive the value more than the cost. Your cover needs to reflect the value, but it is equally important that the contents justify the cover. Do not mislead the reader. A judging book we have done has a trophy in the background implying if you follow the advice in the book, you could have a trophy on your shelf. Or the pet photography cover where it tells he reader it will help them create a picture like the one on the cover. These are things that have a tangible feel to them that reflects value. Many of the books we sold were purchased as a gift. The giver wants to make the receiver happy, and wants confirmation that it's a great gift and often looks for a smile. When someone sees your cover you want them to smile.

This value in a cover that gets attention is dependent upon how well the design is done, and what message it gets across.

Marketing studies have show that having a catchy box or cover for a product sells more products, so take the ideas presented here and sell some books.

7. Final Remarks On Designing Your Book Cover

Even though we are only presenting a few examples and ideas, you should realize that like the words you have written on the pages, the book cover is an extension of the writers personality. As long as basic principles are adhered to, there is no right or wrong way, as long as the message gets across. Accurate representation of the books contents along with a cover that is memorable are two of the keys to make your book stand out.

Competition for consumers will continue to increase as more titles compete with yours. Look at what other authors have done and open your imagination and embark on the first step to create yours. By utilizing the tips here you are one step closer.

So to get started, take what you have learned here, finish your book and get a cover designed.

For additional information and ideas on how to designing book covers, visit There are many examples that have helped authors like you have a great cover.