Designing your book cover

lots of book covers

They say you should never judge a book by its cover. But in reality, people do that all the time. As a self-publisher, if you mess up the cover, you may have just permanently lost a customer. So designing your book cover is something you need to spend a lot of time focusing on.

In an ocean of published books (with hundreds more coming out every day), the cover is the first point of contact. It’s the thumbnail people see on Amazon. If it’s a good thumbnail, people will click on it. If it’s a terrible one, they’ll keep scrolling. So while you are busy finishing the first draft of your manuscript, you should also be planning the cover. The cover can literally make or break the entire project.

Go to Amazon’s book section and to the category you want to publish in. Look at your competitors’ book covers. Start taking notes on how their covers look – the images, the fonts, the colors. See what clearly works and what doesn’t. Read the reviews. Then you need to find your cover designer.

Unless you have a huge talent in graphic design, I suggest you find an expert in it. I made the mistake of trying book covers myself and the results were cringingly bad. This has taught me one golden rule – to stay in my lane and stick to what I’m good at. You’re the writer so stick to writing. Hire other people to do the other stuff.

Where to find a book cover designer

reedsy book cover designer

Look for someone on places like Reedsy. Ask for previous examples of their work and read customer reviews before committing to anything. You are going to need an eBook cover, and if you intend to make a paperback version, you will need a PDF cover with a spine and a back cover. The size of the spine will depend on the number of print pages. When we get onto discussing formatting your manuscript into a digital file, I’ll show you how to calculate the number of pages.

And always remember the golden rule – you get what you pay for. So again, don’t cheap out. Especially on the cover. Look upon it as a long-term investment. That means staying away from Fiverr and Upwork. And for the love of God, don’t take Amazon’s suggestion and download the cover template to do it yourself. Please.

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