Friday Five – Things to look for in a book cover

Friday Five

Friday Five –Book Covers

Today I welcome Susan Day to Friday Five

Five things to look for in a book cover:-

With so many books published a day and, in some cases, appearing immediately online it’s important to have a stand-out book cover. This is your customer’s first point of contact and will play a large part in whether they decided to click on your book and purchase it. I have been designing book covers for a few years now and I have learnt a lot on the way. These five tips should help you create a book cover with oomph and pizazz and save you a lot of money too!

  1. Colour – While the colour palette you choose for your book will, no doubt, reflect the genre and its contents it’s important to follow a few golden rules. Avoid overly dark images and fonts. They will be hard to see on a computer screen. Also avoid colours and palettes that are too light, especially white. If you are unsure go to Amazon and search books that are in the same genre as yours. Scrolling down quickly, make a note of the ones that stand out and catch your attention. Jot down the colours and see if you can use these in your own design. If there are a lot of dark designs, choose brighter colours. If your book is going to sit alongside these ones you want it to get noticed. Also, avoid colours that clash. The rules that apply to fashion, make up and interior décor apply to your book too!
  1. Font – I probably can’t state how important font choice is. If your font is difficult to read, guess what – no one is going to give it a second glance. Choose bold, wide fonts and use shadowing and outline colours to make it stand out and lift off the page.
  1. Image – Don’t use too many images and don’t use only one image either. Too many images will only confuse the eye and only one image looks cheap. Some of the best book covers use one image to grab your attention and this is highlighted with softer images that blend into the background. Another rule is to avoid drawings but I think this rule can be broken if you’ve got a high resolution image that smacks style and relevance.
  1. Size / pixels – Always create a high resolution copy of your book cover first. That way you can make is smaller by reducing it without losing too much quality. For printing purposes your cover image should be 300 dpi (dots per inch). This is the standard accepted by all printers. A while ago, only small files worked on the internet. This is no longer the case. For all images used online I’d still stick to 400 to 700kb. Anything below that will appear grainy on modern screens.If you’re creating your cover for Amazon and Smashwords always check their style guides. If it is not the right dimensions Smashwords will reject it. The rule is to times the horizontal measurements by 1.6. Smashwords require a minimum of 1400 pixels horizontally which works out to be 2240 pixels vertically, for example.If you’re not sure how large your image is right click it and your computer will tell you.

    You can make adjustments to the size of any image in the free application Paint which is on every PC.

  1. Design – Putting it all together is what will make or break your book cover. If you use only one image, add shapes and shadows to promote your cover. Use gradients to create a sense of depth to large blocks of colour. Also add shadowing to fonts and images to give a 3D look. Use a font that can be read by your 99 year old grandma – without her glasses! Highlight it with shadowing and dramatic outline colours. A favourite of mine is adding soft edges to shapes so they blend and make the cover look friendlier and more inviting.

Don’t spend a lot of money on software to achieve these results. I use Microsoft Word and Publisher 2014 which are a lot cheaper than some of the more professional packages and much easier to use too.

Drop me a line if you need advice on your next book cover. I’d be more than happy to help and it will stop me saying, “Oh! Crikey, that’s a poorly designed cover!” when I see it online.

Susan Day

Susan Day

Susan Day is passionate about children’s literature and wants to inspire children to follow their dreams. She created the Astro’s Adventures series and has written other titles too. Each book Susan creates encourages and promotes the wonderful art of story-telling with organic illustrations and characters that portray similar character traits that the readers’ pets share. Susan shares her country home with four dogs from the Astro’s Adventures series, Rocky, Stella, Alfie and Digger, as well as, two rescue guinea pigs, three bossy cats, a blue budgie and a very patient husband.

You can follow Susan on Twitter here.

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