Book Cover Design Brief Guide

# 13

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” it’s that most people do just that. An attractive book cover can make all the difference in getting a reader to pick up your book or skip it for another. Let’s dive in!

🎨 Understanding the importance of book cover design

Before we delve into the ““how””, let’s turn to the ““why.”” The cover of a book is the first thing a reader sees. It is on the basis of the cover that the reader decides whether to read the blorb of the book and whether it is worth opening the book at all. If your work doesn’t pass this first test, then it doesn’t matter what your book is about or how well it’s written. The reader will pass by and never know about it.

📝 What do you want your cover to convey?

Your cover should match the reader’s expectations as much as possible. For example, if a reader is looking for another book to read, they might have a preference (for instance, they love stories about dragons or about passionate encounters) – your cover should show the reader exactly what your book offers. With this approach, it’s evident that your book cannot suit everyone. So, you need to identify the group of readers you are targeting. Genres and classifications of electronic bookstores come to your aid. Readers search for their favorite books based on genres, and accordingly, writers design their covers based on genre trends as well.

🖌️ Step-by-step guide to create a book cover

  1. Determine the platform and category where you are going to publish your book Different self-publishing sites might have varying catalogs and a different distribution of books by genre. You need to choose your primary platform and the categories in which you will place your book to narrow down your target audience. These are readers who come to this site, to these sections in search of the book they desire.
  2. Research and inspiration Now you need to analyze the covers of the bestsellers in your category. The deeper your research, the clearer it will be what to depict on the cover and how it should be presented.
  3. Decide on a style From your research, you will find that most of the covers in your genre follow a specific style. This might include photo collages, illustrations, or graphics.
  4. Choose fonts for your cover The title and author’s name must be legible. Choose fonts that match the trends in your category. For instance, you might notice that some genres favor thin handwritten fonts, while others prefer bold, straight fonts.
  5. Decide on a color palette Colors evoke emotions. Choose a palette that signals the genre of your book to the reader. For instance, combinations of blue-violet and yellow might be prevalent in fantasy books, while black and red dominate horror.
  6. Decide what should be on your cover Cover images also vary by genre, and trends constantly shift. For example, in fantasy genres, not too long ago, you had to depict the main character prominently with secondary characters in the background, and your setting served as the backdrop. Now many books are designed without the image of characters at all, and the cover features graphics with symbols related to the story.
  7. Create a brief for the designer Regardless of who will design your cover – whether it’s you or a professional designer, you need to draft a brief. List all the essential elements of the cover that you’ve identified during your research.
  8. Design creation Whether you collaborate with a professional or have the skills to design your own cover, you have to get several design options. Ensure that your ideas don’t deviate from the brief, and you’re truly creating a cover for readers, not for yourself.
  9. Testing and feedback DO NOT show your design to friends, family, or writing groups because they aren’t your target readers. Only seek feedback from people who regularly buy books in your genre. Use their feedback for refinement.

Following this method, you’ll create a book cover designed to motivate readers to open your book. Often, authors make a significant mistake by designing a cover they love, which doesn’t necessarily appeal to readers.

P.S. Dive deeper into authoring tips and tricks by joining our vibrant community
📚 How to Find Readers and Promote Your Books
I post marketing tips for authors almost every day. Share, learn, and grow together! 🌱📖🖋️


First Steps for a Newbie Writer

A Novice Author’s Journey to Find Readership

Let your blogging journey begin!

Discover 60 Unique Ideas for
an Author's Blog

Take the quiz!

identify your author archetype,
and get the marketing strategy that's right for you.