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Hundreds of Helpful Articles

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What to Consider When Designing Your Book Cover

Even though a wise man once said “Do not judge a book by its cover,” most people judge books by their covers. It may not occur to you as a writer the important role the cover of your book plays in the success of your book, especially when you are already an established author. Human beings process visual information in just thirteen milliseconds. Knowing that the average time a human being takes to blink is about four hundred milliseconds, thirteen milliseconds is very little time. This brings us to the question “Can your book cover attract a reader in the blink of an eye?” Authors who publish their books through publishing firms do not have to worry so much about the design of their book covers. Publishing firms have professional graphic designers who take care of this. Indie authors, on the other hand, do all this work on their own. This may prove to be an uphill task, especially for an upcoming indie author.

What next after writing your story?

As an independent author, you will have to design your book cover yourself. It is advisable that you reach out to a professional graphic designer or a professional book cover designer. Beware of people out there who are ready to take advantage of your naivete as far as your experience in the writing (and publishing) industry goes. In this case, have a thorough background check of the designer you will choose to work with. Do not be quick to pay upfront fees, or even share your work. It is also advisable to choose a designer who charges a fee within your budget. A professional graphic designer will provide you with a variety of sample designs for you to choose from.

How do you choose a good design for your book cover?

This may go a long way from your preferences to what suits your audience or your story’s genre. Professional book cover designers will not just take your opinion or ideas and execute them; they will appropriately advise you. Some designers will even read your book first to get a good idea of the type of cover design for your book. You may have a certain liking for pictures of coastal areas, space objects, or whatever you like. Just because you like such images doesn’t mean they will be good as your book cover design, or that they will appeal to your readers. You have to consider several aspects which include typography, color, imagery, and their alignment. You also have to take into consideration the type of cover you’ll use. Is it a paperback (softcover)? Or a hardback (hardcover)?


Typography refers to the wording of your book cover. This entails the author’s name, the book title, and the book subtitle (in some instances). There are many designs an author can use for typography, depending on the genre of the book and the author’s preferences. Some authors may even decide to only use typography as their cover designs. In this case, the cover of the book has only words and no image. The font also matters a lot. If it is necessary for you to use more than one font, then use two types of font at most. The title of the book and the author’s name are the most important things on the book cover and they should be written in a font that the reader can easily read.


The images or pictures to be used on the design of the cover are what constitute the imagery. The author (or graphic designer) has to be very creative when dealing with the image of the book cover. Readers tend to be more attracted to flashy images, unlike dull images. But whether you use a flashy image or a dull image is solely determined by the genre of your book. Fiction books are more associated with such images (flashy images) unlike nonfiction books. There are many designs the author can choose for their book covers. One of such designs entails merging the image and the text to create an effect of uniformity to make the cover design artistic. Do not overdo the flashiness of your cover design because as much as it will attract readers, it might confuse them and they may not pick your book. Remember, the goal is to get your reader to process and know what your book is in just the blink of an eye.


The color on the cover of your book says a lot about your book. For example, a red cover will translate to danger, action, or blood. A pink cover suggests that the book has a lot to do with femininity. Therefore, picking the right color for your book cover matters a lot.

The alignment of typography, imagery, and color

How these three are aligned is important. For example, giving the image more space on the cover and allocating very little space for the typography may not turn out so well (both design-wise and marketing-wise). This can be bad especially when the author is an upcoming writer. There should be some type of balance so that the reader can see both the image and the typography clearly enough.

Hardback covers which are often accompanied by dust jackets are more expensive than paperback covers. Therefore choosing the type of cover here will greatly depend on the flexibility of your budget. Having a good cover design will boost the marketability of your book and consequently the success of your book.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Keith Mbuya