Your cover has one job, to get people to read your book. Yep, that’s it. In order to do that, there are some components you should consider when designing your cover. (Yes, you can design your own.)
Does the cover portray the genre of your book? If you are writing a homesteading book, maybe a bodice ripper scene on the front, although certainly intriguing, wouldn’t accurately represent the information you have inside.
Who is your book written for? Your cover design should appeal to that group of people. A teen vampire love story will have a very different cover than an erotic romance between a vampire and mortal. Maybe a bodice ripper scene would work here?
Is the tone of your book represented? If your book humorously retells your backpacking disasters in Europe, a scene at the top of the Eiffel Tower, although picturesque, doesn’t scream funny, unless of course you’re dangling off the side.
What is your book about? You have to get the theme across to your potential reader in one way or another. If you book is about how to train your pet gerbil to bring in the newspaper, maybe there should be a gerbil someplace on the cover. Just saying.
There’s a lot of competition out there these days. Your cover should be memorable and unique to your book. If you have a series, or books that are related enough in topic, you might consider designing similar covers to tie them together.
Take some time to look at the covers of other books in your niche. How do you feel when you see them? How would you improve them? How can you use them as inspiration for your own cover?
If you want to include images or artwork, make sure you have permission to use them on your cover. I have an artist friend draw stuff for me. I pay her for her work and gain full rights to use them for my covers. I also make sure to include a big thank you and how to contact the artist in the back matter section, in case anyone else wants to avail themselves of her talents.
Unless you are tech savvy with experience creating covers, I suggest using the cover generator available from your publishing company. Since I publish on Amazon, Kindle Direct Publishing lets me design a cover with whatever images I want to use after I upload my book to the platform. Granted, the template options are limited. One day I may splurge and have all my books’ covers redesigned by a professional, but for now it works.
An ebook only has a front cover. The title, subtitle, author and some eye catching design are all you need. A print book has a front cover, spine and back cover. The front cover is very similar with perhaps some additional restrictions on text size and image dimensions. The spine has the title and author running sideways so you can see them when a book is placed on the shelf. The back cover might have a space for a blurb about the author or the story and a space for an image or two. The bar code is also someplace on the back.
Getting everything just so is far beyond my abilities, so I use the template. Using the template means that everything fits into the appropriate slot, and all the dimensions are hunky dory which is especially important when creating a paperback cover.
If you want to play around with color and images, Canva has a book cover template you can work with. Keep it mind that the dimensions may not be the same as those that your finished book require though.
Design a potential cover for your book. Does it have all of the above components? If you were a reader, would you pick a book with that cover up to read? Why or why not?