What are the key elements of a good book cover?
A well-designed cover is an important part of your book. It catches people’s attention and makes them want to pick up your book off the shelf.
A great cover will make it easy for people to find you on Amazon or other online retailers, and can even help sell more copies than you would otherwise.
But what goes into a good design? Often overlooked in favor of flashy graphics, typography plays an integral role in how readers perceive your work.
Here are 7 essential elements that every great book cover should have:
- The title
- The author’s name
- A tagline or a quote for the book, if there is one
- An image that represents the story or a scene from the book
- A description of what happens in the book and why it’s worth reading
- A font easy to read and matching the tone of voice of your book
- Complementary colors but not too similar
Authors who are self-published or considering self-publishing their work should understand the importance of a good book cover.
A good book cover can help to draw readers in and make your story seem more enticing, but it’s important not to get too caught up with the design that you forget about all of the other elements that go into making a great one.
We will talk about these aspects as follows.
1. The Title
To start, there’s the title.
The title is meant to be an attention grabber, and it should help potential readers decide whether or not they want to read your book.
It’s also important that it has some sort of relevance with the story being told in the novel: for instance, a thriller might have something like “the crime you’ll never forget” in its title.
A general rule sets the title length somewhere between two and six words, possibly written in all capital letters, followed by a colon (:), then the subtitle or series name if there is one.
All titles are italicized when published; this makes it easier to distinguish them from other text on the page.
2. The Author’s Name
Sometimes authors are listed on both the front and back of the book; other times they’re only mentioned in one place.
These places may be inside or outside of the book, but they will always be on the cover.
Famous books like “Harry Potter” and “The Hunger Games” have a different look with their author’s name in each place. Other authors stay consistent by listing themselves only once within the pages of their novel such as John Green or Harper Lee.
Regardless of where an author might appear on a book’s front, back, spine or cover, one thing is for certain: all readers want to know who wrote it!
A long time ago, before there were self-published authors, you could only find the name of the author on a book’s cover if it was traditionally published.
Now that we live in a digital world, where anyone with an internet connection can be published, more and more books are being sold without any information about who wrote them.
Some books have their authors and publisher listed on both the front and back cover, so it may be necessary to flip through to find this information. Here are some common places where you can find an author’s name:
- title page (right after the copyright page)
- table of contents (at the beginning or end of a book, before the first chapter)
- dedication page
In general, if you want to write correctly your author’s name on the book cover, use a font that looks like handwriting, so the reader will feel as if you’re a personal friend.
3. A Tagline or a Quote for the Book (if there is one)
Each book cover has a tagline. Some authors like to have their names in large letters, while others just want to let the artwork speak for itself. But what about your own book? What would be an appropriate and catchy tagline for it?
A good way to start is by looking at other taglines that are similar or even better than yours and use them as inspiration. Don’t feel like you need to come up with something completely original – you can always twist someone else’s idea around instead!
A tagline can be as simple as a sentence, or it could go on for paragraphs. It’s really up to the author to decide what is best for their book.
Here are some examples of possible taglines:
- “The most gripping thriller in ages!”
- “Science fiction so real that it feels more true than truth.”
- “This fast-paced mystery will have readers guessing until the very last page.”
An example may include “Get ready for your new favorite series” which leaves room open for speculation about how good it might be while still intriguing enough to make readers want to buy it.
Also, if somebody made a positive review of your book, you should include a short abstract of those words on the cover to encourage them to read it.
For instance, you could add the following statement: “The author’s words are powerful, and they make you feel like they’re speaking straight from their heart to yours.”
Or: “This is an inspirational story that will inspire you to be the best you can be”.
It’s important in this phase to add any relevant element that could make your cover more attractive than others!
And quotes can be a great way to distinguish yourself from others.
4. An Image that Represents the Story or a Scene from the Book
A great book cover is a mixture of art and design. It’s not just an image that represents the story or scene from the novel, it also has to be noticeable on bookstore shelves and marketable to readers.
Authors have begun using their own artwork for covers, but oftentimes they ask designers to create something unique for the book.
When you’re deciding which image to adopt for your cover, you should know that a reader will generally look at a book for less than two seconds.
This means that an image should be memorable and not only represent the story but also say something about what type of novel it is.
If you’re choosing your own artwork to include on the cover, make sure there are no copyright restrictions or licensing issues. You should also beware of the fact that some readers may not want to buy a book because they dislike the artwork.
The image is also important when it comes to marketing your novel on social media, as potential buyers will often make their decision based on whether or not they like what they see in your cover photo. Your goal is for them to notice and be drawn into wanting more information about your story by looking at a thumbnail version of your post.
If you’re looking for copyright-free images, there are several websites like pexels.com, unsplash.com, and pixabay.com that offer affordable license options for commercial use – as long as you provide attribution to the photographer or artist who created it(her) work!
5. A Description of What Happens in the Book and Why it’s Worth Reading It
A summary of the book on the cover is important because it tells readers what they are getting into.
It also helps them decide if they want to read more about the subject matter, and it gives them more information about the author.
Of course, the space on the cover is not that much, so it is important to keep the blurb concise.
For instance, the book cover for “The Alchemist” features a short description of the story. It reads, “A young Andalusian shepherd boy yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found.”
One sentence can also suffice if there are pictures on the cover that gives readers an idea about what they’re getting into. For example, “Harry Potter” has a picture of the protagonist on the cover, and one sentence that explains what it’s about.
6. A Font Easy to Read and Matching the Tone of Voice of your Book
The cover font is one of the most important aspects when it comes to marketing your book. A lot of authors write a great story, but there’s nothing on the cover that will draw people in.
When you’re picking out fonts for your next project, make sure they are easy to read and don’t clash with the tone of voice you use in your novel. It can be tempting to pick out something flashy or complicated just because it looks cool, but those fonts often come across as unprofessional and difficult to read.
For example, if you’re writing a children’s story about elves, you might want something whimsical and sweet like Cursive Elvish or Elf Script.
If you’re writing a suspenseful thriller set in London then maybe something more modern would work well such as Avenir Next Condensed Bold.
A good font for your cover book is something that matches the tone of voice, is easy to read, and conveys a sense of professionalism.
7. Complementary Colors (but not too similar)
We’re sure you’ve heard of the phrase “complementary colors” before, but what does it really mean? It’s a term for colors that are opposite from one another on the color wheel.
The cover of your book is one of the most important aspects for a prospective reader. It needs to be bold, eye-catching, and representative of what you’re writing about. But with so many color combinations on offer, it can be hard to know which ones work best together.
We generally recommend using two complementary colors for your cover. But if you want to make a bold statement with three, here are some things to keep in mind.
- use a lighter color for your background and dark shades on the foreground
- create an unbalanced contrast with bright colors (like red or orange) against dark backgrounds
- make sure that you don’t choose more than three different hues of the same hue (i.e., don’t mix reds, oranges, and pinks)
- use more than one hue if you’re using a light color as the background
- avoid colors with a very similar undertone (i.e., greens or blues); these are called “complementary” but can make your cover too difficult to read.
Let’s Sum Up!
There are several factors to consider when designing a book cover, and you should be aware of all the nuances. A well-designed book cover can make or break your sales numbers.
This article has given you some tips on how to create a good book cover and we hope it has been helpful and informative as well!
You now have all the information you need to create a book cover that will help your novel get noticed by readers.
All it takes is patience and attention to make sure your efforts pay off! Your investment of time today could be just what you need to boost sales of your future releases!