As a professional, you may be thinking that you’re not interested in best book cover design techniques, but you should be. Because you have an e-book to write about your knowledge and skills in only a way that you can do it. You have a lot of skills, experiences, and ideas that are worth sharing.
Why not capture that information in a Kindle book? Your e-book would be your calling card, which will help you to build your personal brand. In a highly dynamic environment, you have to be able to distinguish yourself from your peers. An e-book is a good way to do that.
Whether or not you decide to design your book cover yourself, you still need to be aware of the best book cover design techniques. How else will you now if you have a really good book cover that conveys the message in your e-book.
Why You Should Care About Best Book Cover Design Techniques
I mentioned before that I am writing a book. In fact, it’s going to be a series of books. So cover designs are on my mind. I have two cover designs for one book, but I don’t really like either. I asked for a vote from people I know, they chose one. A couple months later, the feeling hasn’t gone away – I still do not like any of the book covers.
If I do not like the book cover design, how can I expect prospective readers to like it? Herein lies a big problem. I cannot pinpoint what exactly I do not like about either book cover design, but I know neither grabs my attention. In good conscience, I cannot use any of the designs because they don’t have the WOW factor.
What are some best book cover design techniques, I ask myself? I’m not a graphic designer, so I have to do some research to find out what constitutes best book cover designs. Even if you do not design your own book cover, you have to be aware of best book cover design techniques, so you can determine what’s a good book cover design.
Also, the other thing I wanted to mention, is I cannot get what Ken Kragen said at the Conference in Dallas, out of my mind. I remember his presentation like it was yesterday. He mentioned that there are three characteristics to getting attention, but he talks about them in the context of events. An event could be a book cover design.
Characteristics of Events That Get Noticed
- Special or unique.
- Founded on real substance.
- Capture people’s attention.
So the new formula would be:
Characteristics of Book Cover Designs That Get Noticed
- Special or unique. How can you make your book cover design different from what’s already on the market?
- Founded on real substance. How can you make the book cover unique yet real? Not gimmicky.
- Capture people’s attention. How can you use the right image and words to capture people’s attention?
While going through the e-books in my Kindle app, I noticed Book Covers That Sell by Writely Designed. The e-book is very, very short, and you can read it in about 30 minutes. Below you’ll find information that stood out for me. I downloaded it for free on their website.
The book has some useful information. However, there were times while reading the book, when I wanted and needed more information. That’s expected in such a short book. And I think it’s purpose is to get business for Writely Designed.
I’ve since bought Just Tell Me Simply: Designing eBook Covers That Sell by Buzz Murphy. When I read it, I’ll add more information to this post. At first glance, it looks like it has some good information.
UPDATE from Avil: I have now read Just Tell Me Simply: Designing eBook Covers That Sell. It has some very good information in it. However, it’s more technical than I expected. That’s not a bad thing. You can apply a lot of the information to print books. And it talks about things like making sure you have the right to use images, signing a contract with the book cover designer, and a lot more.
Best Book Cover Design Techniques: Ask Yourself These Questions Before Designing Your Book Cover
Information for the Book Title
- What is the main purpose of your book?
- What’s one thing a reader can expect to take away from your book’s message or story?
- Why should a reader buy your book instead of another similar one?
- Who should buy your book? Who are you targeting with your message?
- What kind of book is it? (Guide, reference, story, novel, novella, memoir, testimony, and so on)
I found additional information in the book, Kindle Marketing: How to Sell More eBooks on Amazon with Special SEO Tricks by Mark LeGrand Messick. The author states that for non-fiction books, the following is very important for a great title:
- “Instantly conveys the book’s topic, and what it will specifically provide for/teach the reader
- Contains more than one essential “power word”. (Words like “you”, “awesome”, “easy”, “fast”)
- Short, punchy main title that will take the reader less than a second to read in its entirety.
- Longer, more detailed subtitle.
- Specific profitable keywords.”
NOTE: Kindle Marketing: How to Sell More eBooks on Amazon with Special SEO Tricks by Mark LeGrand Messick is no longer available for sale.
Information About the Readers
- What colors do your readers like?
- How do they dress?
- What movies are they most likely to see?
- Which social networks do they prefer?
Best book cover design techniques are more involved that I first thought. Without reading Book Covers That Sell by Writerly Designed, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to ask those questions.
Information to Give the Book a WOW Factor
- What is the mood of the book? This goes back to the colors you will choose.
- What is the WOW factor? Combine previous principles. The cover design communicates powerfully.
And I think to get the WOW factor requires you to also find a way to incorporate Kragen’s characteristics for getting attention.
Write the Subtitle First: It has to be clear and descriptive. The example of a good subtitle that Writerly Designed provided: “30 Ways to Kick Bad Eating Habits and Live Healthier Every day.” This summarizes the book’s message succinctly.
Craft the Title: Leave the explanation of what the book is about in the subtitle of the book. Therefore, the title can be short. Country Unknown makes a great title instead of A Journey Through an Unknown Country. You notice that the better title is short and punchy.
Search Results on Amazon for Books on Book Cover Design
Do any of these book covers grab you? Do they have the WOW Factor? Which book would you buy, simply based on its cover design?
Most Common Mistakes on Book Covers (they go against best book cover design techniques)
- Making the subtitle too large. Remember, the subtitle is to explain the title. But it’s secondary to the title, so it shouldn’t be larger.
- Making the author’s name too small. The author’s name should be prominent, even if you’re a first time author.
- Employing overused, symbolic clichés that have little or nothing to do with the book. Your book’s content is unique. Don’t use common photo’s that others will likely use. No sunsets, or rainbows, or cheesy animal photos. Which image will best convey the content of the book?
- Requesting feedback and advice from everyone except a book designer or marketer. It’s important to get feedback on your book cover design. But make sure that some of the feedback is from book promoters, and designers. People who know and understand best book design techniques that sell books.
- Utilizing designers who don’t understand the book market. Make sure that the book cover designer understands the industry, book marketing, and promotion. Book designer has to understand the subtleties of the field.
- Injecting personal tastes into a book’s design concept. What fits the book better? It’s not really about you.
- Attempting to be “clever” with typefaces. Avoid fonts such as Papyrus, Comic Sans, and Times New Roman. According to the book designer, Joel Freidlander, (http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2009/08/5-favorite-fonts/), the best fonts for the inside of a book are Garamond, Janson, Bembo, Caslon, and Electra.
- Copying other books. It’s good to look at several other book cover designs. But keep in mind that your content is unique, so don’t copy other book cover designs.
- Hiding personal, symbolic messaging in the imagery of the design. Keep in mind at all times the message of your book, and who is going to read it.
- Overcomplicating the cover’s message. Quick, clear message is always best.
At the end of Book Covers That Sell by Writely Designed, you’ll find some additional resources. The one that caught my attention, compares a book cover design to a billboard. The light bulb went on for me. I clicked on the video, but it was scarce on information. I decided to conduct research on the elements of a great billboard design. Here is what I discovered, some of which are very consistent with what Writely Designed has in its e-book. I have adapted them to book cover designs.
Best Book Cover Design Techniques to Consider Based on Billboard Best Practices
- Choose the right typography. Fonts, images, and the appearance, are very important. And you have to choose the right color to convey the intended message. Style matters.
- Build your brand. In what way can your book cover help to build your personal brand?
- Choose only one element to stand out. All elements are not created equally. What do you want people to focus on?
- Don’t be clever. You want the book cover design to be memorable, yet triggers people to buy the book. You have to be smart about the design. Being straightforward is helpful.
- Show it. What image and words communicate your message, without cluttering the design?
- Focus on visuals. A picture is worth a thousand words. What image complements your title and subtitle?
- Be bold. Take a chance. Don’t bore prospective readers with your book cover design. You want them to buy your book. What image best captures the message of your book in a surprising way. You are looking for the WOW factor.
- Don’t distract. Don’t use images that will distract people from your core message.
- Know your target audience. Who is your intended audience? Focus your cover design to attract your intended readers.
- Break the rules. If you understand the rules of great cover design, there are times when you have to break them to create the WOW factor. You can move from an ordinary cover to an extraordinary one.
You’ll find some good information in Book Covers That Sell by Writely Designed. But to add value, I incorporated more information based on some research.