How To Design A Book Cover


It still amazes me how poor some authors and publishers are at creating book cover designs.

Your book cover is just as important as the content and you need to spend some valuable time thinking about what your readers would want from the book cover. There is a saying that goes – “Never judge a book cover its cover.” The fact is, we all do!

Here are a few examples of some poor, yet funny, book cover designs: 

Wat makes a good book cover design?

When a potential customer is thinking about buying your book, he or she will subconsciously consider the following factors:

– The price of the book (don’t assume here that I mean how cheap the book is!)

– The credibility of the author (make sure you create an author page and list your experiences, qualifications and your passion for writing)

– Whether or not the author has a photo (seriously, this can make a big difference to book sales!)

– Book reviews and comments.

The book cover (by this I mean how ‘appealing’ the cover is and also how relevant it is to the content.)

To date, I have created in excess of 200 book cover designs. When deciding how to design a book cover, consider the following important factors:

1. Don’t get emotionally attached to the book cover design

Most authors become too attached to their book cover and they forget how important it is to create a book cover design that will be attractive to the reader and also guarantee sales.

If you are creating a non-fiction book cover then it is important that the design ‘does what it says on the tin’. Remember, most people now buy books online and therefore, they are unable to touch or feel the book.

It is essential that your cover is striking, relevant in colour and has a bold title which is based on what your readers are looking for.

If you are creating a book cover design for a fiction book or novel, try to capture the mood or feeling of the storyline. It is your job to get a book cover design created that draws the reader into the story, plot or main characters of the book. For example, the following fiction book cover design really makes you want to open the book and read it.

The cover says everything about the storyline without you having to read any of the content. You will notice that the author has made excellent use of a badge to capture three powerful words that make the customer more attracted to the book:

Sample fiction book cover design

So, when designing a fiction book cover or novel, concentrate on the following important tips:

– Do not get emotionally attached to the book cover design.

– Think about what the reader would want to see from the book cover.

– Create a cover that captures the mood, feel and main theme or storyline of the book.

– Think carefully about the colours you are going to use on your book cover design. If the storyline is dark and moody, use similar covers. Conversely, if the main them or storyline is uplifting, use bright and vibrant colours.

2. For non-fiction book covers, make sure the cover describes the content exactly

When creating a book cover design which will be used for a non-fiction book, create a design that does exactly what it says on the tin. A person should be able to describe to you what the content is about, without you having to explain what it is.

For example, the following book cover design is one that I created for a book which would go on sale via Amazon and Waterstones.

You will see from the bold and vibrant colours, and also the book title, that I do not have to tell you what the book is about or what is included within the content. To me, this book cover does what it says on the tin and works extremely well:



So, when thinking about how to design a book cover for content which is focused on non-fiction, concentrate on the following important key factors:

– Create a book title which tells the reader exactly what the content is about.

– Use bold, relevant and vibrant colours. Remember, it is your job to make sure your book cover design stands out from the crowd on Amazon and other online book selling stores.

– Consider the use of badges to add authenticity to the cover design.

– If you are promoting or offering different services within your book (up-selling), consider adding your website url to the bottom of the book cover.

Finally, the key test for any non-fiction book cover is to ask yourself whether or not a person will be able to describe to you what the book is about, and what it will teach them, without you having to describe it to them.

Richard McMunn

UK best-selling author and book coach


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