Top 12 Book Cover Design Tips for Self-Published Authors

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Designing your own book cover?

This decision is risky, and most authors who try to design their own covers fall short of the elegant designs in their heads. Book cover design is a unique skill set and not recommended unless your artistic and graphical talent matches your writing ability.

As seen below, there are a number of factors to consider when designing a good cover:

Doable? Yes, but easy? Not usually. Some writers have been able to give their books winning appeal by designing custom covers you couldn’t find in a pre-made store, and learning the skills yourself can save you money in the long-run.

If you think you have what it takes to put together a strong cover for your book, here are some of the key tips to designing something that will sell.

1. Pick one: typography or image.

With so many designs and inspirations to choose from, it’s tempting to want to throw everything on the page at once. The best book covers rely either on an image or on a typographical design, leaving the other elements to a basic minimum.

Usually, images are easier to compile because of the number of excellent stock photos available. Typographical designs are more difficult but can be more rewarding if they pay out.

2. Use simple fonts.

Most bestsellers on the shelf don’t use elaborately themed fonts but instead stick to basic, almost boring, alternatives. When you want your title to be readable even from a thumbnail image (more on this later), it’s important that you choose something clean and predictable.

On top of that, fancy fonts risk clashing with the image or typographical layout of your cover. Anything that doesn’t actively contribute to your unifying appearance should be cut or altered accordingly.

3. Use appropriate font variety.

Still on the topic of choosing a workable font and typeface, one usually isn’t enough. Most printed books will use two or three different fonts on the cover to play different roles.

These fonts need to be readable and work well with each other, but using a good variety will make your book look more professional. If you need help picking fonts that match, services like fontpair.co can help you decide.