Six steps to a book cover that sells (part II)


Today's guest post comes from children's author Beth Bacon, on how to make sure your book cover actually generates sales.

If you missed the first three steps, head over to last week's post!

Six steps to a book cover that sells (part II)

If you’re an indie author, hiring a professional cover designer will contribute to your book’s success.

Professional cover designers are trained in the craft of typography, image editing, and design — but they’re not expected to really understand your book or invent your author brand.  

The more you understand about the elements of a successful book cover, the better you’ll be able to communicate with your cover designer. Then, together, you’ll create an irresistible cover. 

Follow last week's steps and today's new tips to guide your cover designer to success.

Step 4: Brand consistency. If you’ve got more than one book, be sure to brand them consistently.

The covers don’t need to be built from same exact template, but they should share a few design elements, such as illustration style, fonts, and color palette.

If you have a series, you could place the author’s name in the same place on ever cover. The fans of one of your books should be able to recognize all of your other books in a quick glance.

Step 5: Simplicity. Online, your book cover will be the size of a postage stamp. So opt for simple, bold graphics and large, easy-to-read fonts.

When potential readers see your book cover on a tablet or a phone, they will not pick up any details. They’ll have a hard time reading small words.

If your book has a long title, consider making the title a major design element.

On the cover of my book The Worst Book Ever, the title appears on the lower part of the face. The boxy letters appear where the mouth should be and take the place of a set of gritted teeth.

This completes the picture and adds to the tone—all while saving space.

The title of The Worst Book Ever replaces the mouth and simplifies the cover design.

If your book has a long subtitle, consider leaving it off the cover. You can include the subtitle inside of the book on the title page.

Be sure to include the subtitle in the metadata section of your book’s online sales page, but don’t feel obligated to clutter your cover with a long subtitle.

Step 6: Know your audience. Know your audience and make sure your cover appeals to them.

I design my books for today’s second- and third-graders and their hipster parents. I once did a talk about writing at a senior center.

One elderly audience member raised her hand and asked me why my book covers are so … ugly. I told her my audience likes them.

Authors don’t need everyone to like their covers. They need their target customers to like their covers.

About the author

Beth Bacon loves to read and write — and laugh! She writes funny books intermediate reluctant readers ages six to nine.

Beth holds an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She also has a degree in communication theory from NYU and a degree in Literature from Harvard University.

Contact Beth through her website.