Creating a Book Cover

Selling More Books with your Cover

When you think about the process of creating a book, most people jump right to writing the book. That’s the first step in a long process, but what will take your book from anonymity to bestseller is a compelling cover. Your cover gives a potential reader a first impression of your book, and a boring or generic cover means that they may never even pick it up off of a shelf or off of the table.
So, here are 4 tips for you to nail that cover design!

1. Choose colors that match the tone of your book.

When you first begin thinking about your cover, take time to think what colors the contents of your book evokes. If your book is a cold, hardboiled detective novel, you’ll want to choose darker, cooler colors, like blue and black, to help convey the mood of the book to your reader. If you’re writing a devotional or educational book, you may want to opt into warmer colors, like golds and reds.
When you choose a color that matches the tone of your book, you can connect with your target audience more quickly. If your book is designed for women over men, you may want to choose colors that resonate with women more than men. For example, blue is the most popular color across genders, but of men surveyed, less than 1% preferred the color purple. For women, however, 23% preferred the color purple.

Orange, however, is the most common least favorite color, followed by brown, and then purple and yellow. When you consider your cover, you may want to avoid these colors simply due to the subconscious impressions that they can leave on the minds of prospective readers.
Age is another thing to keep in mind because color preference changes as we age. Green is preferred by younger crowds, but as we age, purple becomes more popular. Those in the 70+ age group almost exclusively prefer blue and white. Yellow also isn’t popular unless you are targeting the 36-69 age group.

2. Look at other covers in your genre.

When you create a book, you are always writing within a genre, and often, you will find yourself writing in a subgenre as well. Your book may be a devotional, but it may also be a devotional for women based on the women of the bible. To differentiate yourself from other books in your genre, you need to make sure that your cover doesn’t come too close to theirs. Instead, you want it to look new and fresh.

For example, if the theme of your book is “adventure” you would want to start by searching for other covers in your genre. Then, take inspiration from the best ones that you see. Make a note about what you like about them. When you get an idea of what you like about the covers, take time to figure out if that is overused. If every adventure novel has a picture of a silhouetted person walking off into the distance, you may want to consider avoiding that cliché. You may also want to take a more stylistic or illustrative approach.
In addition to making notes about what you like, make a note about what you dislike. If you find that the common colors of the novels in your genre don’t resonate with your book, be sure to avoid those. If you’re writing a book on dieting and are tired of seeing images of scales and people going from heavy to thin, consider an abstract cover to draw in readers.

3. Pick a style

When you create your cover, you need to pick a style for it. This can be illustrative, photorealistic, abstract, symbolic, or even textured. To do this, it is imperative that you look at the other covers in your genre.

Almost all fantasy books have illustrative covers, so it might create dissonance or a false impression to your reader if you use a photorealistic cover. If your book is targeted at young adults, you may want to consider using either a photorealistic or illustrative depiction of a main character. Sci-fi tends to use symbolic covers. So, while you want to set your cover apart, you don’t want to alienate your audience, and you don’t want to hoodwink potential readers.

4. Ask for an honest opinion.

Whether you are a cover designer or a writer, it is important that you let others know your ideas before you implement them. You might think that a photo that you took of a sunset on your cellphone is the perfect photo for the cover of your book, but it is important that you ask others if that is a good idea. Oftentimes, we can get overwhelmed with excitement and make bad design choices.
When you ask for honest feedback from people who understand books and the market, you can make informed decisions. Then, you can access your widest possible audience.