When it comes to selling books, having an eye-catching cover is high on the list of getting more readers and buyers.
But there’s a lot to consider. Should you make the cover yourself? Hire a designer? Use stock photos?
To help with this process, BadRedHeadMedia recommends planning everything in advance, including researching your options and coming up with a budget. Also keep in mind you will have to go through a few rounds of editing.
The World’s Greatest Book offers advice on what works for book covers and what doesn’t, delving into detail using specific covers to illustrate the points. The Book Designer also has a monthly eBook Cover Design awards, where Joel offers critiques. And The Book Cover Archive has a ton of book cover images you can use for inspiration.
Here are some more helpful articles on the do’s and don’ts of cover design:
- The Book Designer’s “15 Articles on Cover Design for Self-Publishers“
- CreativIndie’s “8 cover design secrets publishers use to manipulate readers into buying books“
- Bergsland’s “Cover Design: The seduction of type effects“
- The Book Designer’s “Book Cover Success and Failure Explained“
- The Digital Reader’s “Did Amazon Just Ban Suggestive eBook Covers from the Kindle Store?“
- Leslie Lee Sanders’ “Getting Started: Cover Art for Self-Publishers“
- BookWorks’ “Judging A Book By Its Cover“
- The Book Designer’s “How Much Attention Should You Pay to Book Design?“
- Idea Trash’s “I Made A Lousy Book Cover Once. Learn From My (and Other’s) Mistakes“
- The Cadence Group’s “EBOOK COVER DESIGN TIPS“
- Kobo’s “We’ve got you covered Friday: Keith Draws“
Buying a Book Cover
If you decide to pay to have your book cover designed, there are three routes to go: hire a designer, crowdsource the cover, or purchase a ready made cover.
Hiring a Designer
After you set your budget and timeline, you may want to hire a specific designer to create your book cover.
Rebecca Berto provides a list of affordable cover designers on her blog.
If you are working with someone one-on-one (and not purchasing a pre-made cover), it’s good practice to have a signed agreement between you and your designer. CreativIndie provides a sample contract you can use.
Here’s a short list of designers you can check out:
Crowdsourcing a Book Cover
Crowdsourcing is a great way to get a whole bunch of concepts and ideas. For my “How to Make Ebooks” series, I used 99 Designs to crowdsource a cover.
See also The Book Designer’s “Using Freelancer Contests for Your eBook Covers.”
Purchasing a Ready Made Book Cover
Some websites have popped up with covers you can browse and buy. One great example is SelfPubBookCovers, which offers one-of-kind designs. Once you purchase a cover, they take that cover off their site, so as to avoid authors using the same design. (You don’t want duplicates–see The Book Designer’s “Do You Know Who Owns Your Book Cover?”
Creating Your Own Book Cover
If you decide to design your own book cover, there are a number of options. Kindle Direct Publishing has a new Kindle Cover Creator, which you can launch in your KDP dashboard.
Using Stock Photos
One easy way to design your own cover and save money is to purchase stock images. Read GalleyCat’s “How One Author Used Public Domain Images To Create a Book Cover” for more ideas.
You can also use public domain images, though it may be trickier to find ones that suit your book. Read The Literary Mercenary’s “What Is Public Domain, and What Does It Mean For Your Novel?”
Published to Death also has “13 Sites Where You Can Get Fabulous Free Photos.”
Book Cover Fonts
Book covers should have fonts that stand out and work well with the imagery. The Book Designer recommends 5 Great Fonts for Book Covers, most of which are free to use. The best way to see if they work is to try them out.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on March 9, 2015.