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How to create an engaging book cover

Want to publish your own book? Now you need a book cover. But how do you create an engaging one, and why is it important? We share more.

There’s an old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” but ironically, in the case of buying actual books, that’s exactly what we do.

A book cover is your marketing tool, it’s the introduction to what lies on the pages that follow and the colour, font and illustration or photograph all play a vital part in enticing a reader.

For successful authors there’s an argument that they have built such a loyal following that it doesn’t matter what they put on the front cover, they will always have a best-seller.

While that might be true up to a point, the way the book looks at first glance is still an important consideration.

How many of us have been at airports or railway stations and decided we need some reading material to take with us? What entices us at first? Chances are it is absolutely the cover that will motivate us to pick up the book and find out more.

Great design will attract a reader, get them to make an emotional attachment with a book which – hopefully – will lead to that all-important purchase.

It takes such 13 milliseconds for the human brain to process an image – so we literally make a decision on what we see in the blink of an eye.

That tiny fraction of time can be vital in getting a prospective reader to respond to what they see – so make sure you cover works!

How to choose what to put on my book cover

What your cover portrays is to indicate to the reader what they can expect from the book.

Different genres use different colours and fonts – just take a look at books in any store to see what we mean.

Romance novels tend to have a soft colour palette with pinks, purples, whites and also red and blue featuring most predominantly.

If you’re going to use an illustration or a photograph then make sure it relates to the characters you’ve created – there’s no point in having a raven-haired beauty on the front if your heroine is known for her flaming red curls.

Make sure there’s consistency and you’ll keep your readers happy.

The aim of the cover is to create a visual representation of an element or an idea from your writing and it’s also extremely important that the title of the book is prominent and easy to read – this is particularly true if you’re going to be selling it via online sites where its image will be much smaller.

Don’t overcrowd it with too many words and never use more than two fonts, otherwise, it becomes very difficult for the casual browser to read.

What are the best book covers?

It’s probably very tempting to throw every bit of the content of the book onto the front page but it’s definitely a case of “less is more.” Pick out one element which is likely to create interest – it’s far more effective than a cluttered cover.

Look at best-selling books like Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – which went on to be a major movie – and you’ll see a cover that consists mainly of grey clouds which help to create a sense of mystery and foreboding.

By the same token Flynn’s other novel, Sharp Objects features nothing other than a razor blade – creating just the right amount of intrigue.

Some cover images have taken on a life of their own – think of the illustration which is synonymous with the infamous novel, A Clockwork Orange.

Robert Bloch’s Psycho, which features the title ripped in half, was so effective that Alfred Hitchcock purchased the rights to use in the film’s promotion.

It all goes to show you should never underestimate the importance of that front cover!

Book cover inspiration for non-fiction books

If you’ve written something like a self-help book, your front cover has to acknowledge a sense of authority. The title and the name of the author should of course be prevalent, but it also helps in these instances if you can also acknowledge some third-party endorsements.

If someone has read your book and declared it “life-changing” then put that on the cover – it could well act as an incentive for others to buy it.

Sometimes these books work well with a picture of the author on the front. If you’re trying to get people to buy into the fact reading this book will enhance their spirituality/business prowess/romantic opportunities, it’s good to have someone to relate to.

Others go down a more surreal route -a picture of someone staring into the sun, a butterfly landing on a flower, a pathway leading into the distance. While this may be picturesque it doesn’t say much about the contents, so consider carefully before making that all-important decision.

How to design a book cover

Once you have gathered your inspiration, you may be wondering how to design your book cover. If you're technically capable, you can design your cover in InDesign, Photoshop or other computer software. You could also pay a professional graphic designer to do this for you.

At WTTB, we have made it easy for you to make your designs. You can use ourCanva services, or use our bespoke artworking service where we do all the hard work for you. Whether you would like to print ahardback bookor a layflat book, designing a cover and printing a book has never been easier!


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