Indie Authors: What’s in a Book Cover?

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It’s well known that a good book cover is a key component of selling a book (aside from having a great story, of course). But with so many books out there for readers to choose from (especially now that indie authors as well as traditional publishers are now making high quality book covers of similar caliber, according to Publishing Perspectives) what can make your cover stand out?

Examples of Good Covers

To get an idea of what covers strike you, try playing Play Judgey. Rate 10 books based on their cover, then see how they compare to actual ratings on Goodreads. At the end you’ll get a score to see how closely you matched up. You may be surprised with the accuracy of the results.

One thing to keep in mind is that with many covers using stock images, you can end up with similar-looking covers to other author’s books, according to Chris Kridgler. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it all comes down to your personal preference.

Elements of Book Covers

According to Seven Camels, less is more when it comes to covers, as well as composition. Color choice is also important, and so is having a cover that matches the tone of the book.

Written Word Media shared four scientific tips that help with cover design. According to the article, it’s important to have symmetry, simplicity, good color schemes, and contrast.

For print books, Cathi Stevenson shared an infographic on what goes in a book cover, including spine, margins, and bleed.

Of course, don’t forget about the book’s title. Robin Storey shares ideas on how to make a good title, as well as examples of strange titles you should never use (such as How to Avoid Huge Ships.)

Book Cover Insights

If you want to get an idea of what it’s like to be a cover designer, read Suzy Vitello‘s interview with Kit Foster and Robert Chute, who designed the covers for her books, The Empress Chronicles and The Keepsake.

Sheer Hubris Press wrote about a case study, where she used PickFu to poll her covers and see what resonated with her readers. She’ll be using the information she found out towards covers for her future books in her series.

Fun Book Covers

Just for fun, check out The Book Cover Design Blog’s Book Cover Quiz, and see how many classic books you recognize.

And on HyperAllergic you can see animated, hypnotic versions of vintage art book covers. They’re pretty mesmerizing.

This post was originally published on March 7, 2016.


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