Think of the book cover as your best marketing tool.
Imagine a potential reader is browsing the shelves or a table at your local bookseller. They love historical romance and they browse to find their favourite authors. None there, so then they browse for similar books to try out. It is the cover that will attract this reader, so it has to be right.
The book cover is the full wrap-around. It includes the title, artwork and author’s name. The Spine provides the title and author and the back includes the blurb, the ISBN and publishing details.
What makes an excellent cover?
- It should scream out the genre through the use of design photos, images and art.
- Display the title and author in a striking but easy-to-read font and style.
- It must be beautiful and use colours that reflect the contents.
- The design should grab attention, be unique, but also contain elements that are popular in the genre. It pays to do the research.
Can you make your own cover?
Most self-publishing groups recommend you hire a professional to design your cover, especially if you are not an artist or a technical wizard using a computer. I suggest you save up some money and pay a professional.
Finding a designer is a matter of a few easy searches on Google using the keywords, “book cover designs” and there will appear a long list of companies offering to make a wonderful book cover just for you. The prices vary a lot and can be anywhere between $500 and $800 dollars.
You can also buy book covers that are pre-made. If you add something like “Paranormal Romance book cover” in your Google search, you will find an array of potential designs where you just add your title and the author’s name to a pre-made design.
Pre-made designs include the front cover, back cover and spine, and each design is unique. Browse the designs and choose one that suits your book, and this may be a simple and cost-effective way for you to cover your book. Remember that you will need your back cover blurb, ISBN, reviews and whatever author information you wish to include. The costs of using a pre-made is cheaper than having your cover made up from scratch. The average price for an e-book and a print edition is between $100 – $300, but there is a lot of variation.
If you want something unique, contact a graphic designer and/or illustrator. What’s the difference, you ask? A graphic designer uses licensed stock photos and images. An illustrator will create your cover design using your characters and ideas from your book.
But what if you want to be the designer? You may have a specific design that is not on offer anywhere, or you want to have full artistic control over your book. Perhaps it is a matter of cost. Be warned that designing a book cover for self-publishing requires time to master the elements of book cover designs and technical skills. Not for the faint-hearted, but yes, it is doable. More on this next time.
Places to look for more information: Reedsy.com>book-cover-art -, Canva for design templates. Elite Authors, Paper and Sage Book Cover design. Explore their websites as they have some interesting and informative articles.
Cheers: ©Elsie King 2023
Book cover photo from Creative Commons