The cover of a book allows the target audience an insight into the book and what they can expect to read about, after all, a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s the first thing a reader sees; you want the design to grab their attention and ultimately buy it for a great read.
For the designing of the book cover, there are some questions you need to answer for yourself before going ahead with the design. It’s all a part of the branding process because an author and their books are a part of a brand that readers will pick up on, and besides this who knows, there may be many more books in the pipeline once this one succeeds. You need to understand what you want your cover to represent.
What genre is it?
Who is your audience?
Why does it appeal to your target audience?
What is your high-concept?
Once you have all of this worked out, you need to contact your designer and talk about how you would want to visually express these on the book cover. To help at this stage, take a look at any existing novels or movies that are similar to yours and draw inspiration from them. The designers rely on you to give them branding concept information, as (unfortunately) they rarely have the time to read the entire story to gain an understanding of the book’s message prior to the cover design.
Be general and open minded when having your cover designed, the more general the instructions, the better job the designer can do on being able to make it professional. In addition to this, more than one design is best, as it lets your designer pick which design concept fits with your novel.
Don’t show too much of character, this is because readers will create their own pictures and perceptions of the book’s characters in their mind. Not only this, but it’s also difficult for the designer to always find images that showcase the appearance of your character.
Don’t show a specific scene on the cover, as this isn’t the best way to tell your readers what the book is about. Without the right context, the scene will be meaningless to the readers, as the cover is the first thing that they see. A simple eye-catching design will serve perfectly, one that is simple, strong and symbolic rather than complicated and cluttered.
Legal technical guidelines are important, for example, be aware of copyright issues when placing images on the cover, submitting copyrighted images without permission will delay the production and release of the book. The best way to avoid these legal issues is to use images that you have taken yourself or use fully licensed images.
The title should be big enough to read for all audiences, so make sure that you are able to view the image on the cover in various sizes for mobile devices etc. Don’t explode fonts as this creates a cluttered look. Refrain from using cheap images for your cover as we can assure you it will not look good when finished. Avoid gradients as speaking from experience, it often looks awful, and lastly, do not design your own cover without plentiful graphic design experience, it’s always better to have it created professionally! Your creative writing deserves a book cover that shows you off as an author…