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Book Cover Design Do’s and Don’ts

Alessandra Torre, NYTimes Bestselling author and Inkers Con co-founder

Did you know my first ever book cover did a LOT of things wrong, but was just clickable enough to launch my entire career?

I made so many mistakes with that cover, but it did have one important thing going for it:

It was on-market. Readers looked at it and knew exactly what it was – a super sexy romance.

While that isn’t the only important thing to know about creating a successful cover, it certainly tops the list.

Let me expand on that thought and share more advice about designing your book cover:

1. Know your genre. Different genres have different conventions and expectations for cover design. Research what covers are common for your genre and use those as a guide for your own design. For example, fantasy romance might typically have a cool color scheme, Serif font, and a couple embracing. A thriller cover might have bold typography, a lone figure, and elements of danger.

2. Focus on the key elements. Your cover needs to communicate the key elements of your story to potential readers. This includes the genre, tone, setting, and characters. Focus on these elements and make sure they are clearly conveyed in your design.

3. Make it eye-catching. Your cover needs to stand out from the crowd. Use bold colors, interesting typography, and striking imagery to grab attention. Avoid clutter and make sure the key elements of your design are easy to see in both color and grayscale.

4. Keep it simple. While you want your cover to be eye-catching, you also want it to be easy to read and understand. Don’t overcrowd your cover with too much information or too many design elements. Keep it focused on the key elements.

5. Highlight your name. Soon, readers will reach for any book with your name on it! Make sure your name is easy to read and consistent in font and style across all of your books.

I highly suggest that you employ a professional to design your cover – or purchase a premade cover that was built by a designer.

It’s important that you understand what makes a strong (or weak) cover so that you can pick a designer that fits your future brand, and so that you can work with them to achieve your desired result.

The more knowledgeable you are about cover design, the better poised you’ll be to help your books succeed with the best cover possible that fits your budget.

I’ve been learning cover design the most expensive way: by trial and error. That changes this year, because we’re bringing a cover design expert to the Inkers Con stage!

I am so pumped to include this cover design class on our upcoming agenda:

Elements of Click-worthy Cover Design by Rebekah Haskell

Is your book cover drawing in readers or pushing them away?

In this class, learn:
– what should be your number one consideration when designing a cover
– what elements are important in triggering sales
– how to make educated design decisions
– how to accurately judge your current covers

I am beyond excited for this class and to learn from Rebekah. My future covers are going to rock!

Update: Rebekah Haskell was a speaker at the 2023 Inkers Con conference (which is still available to view online). The upcoming 2024 conference offers dozens of brand new classes, Q&As, author discussions and more! Join us in Dallas or online!

Happy designing!