Book Cover topics are vast and all over the internet, and so I am only going to give you my opinion and experience. Your book cover is important. Readers are visual when shopping and deciding whether to look further at your work. Your cover needs to grab their attention and give a good visual representation of what your book is about. Self-published and Indie Authors need to pay careful attention to the little details.
I’m sure there are exceptions. I’ve seen horrid covers with huge sales and followings. I’ve seen placeholder covers with just a solid color and the title with huge numbers as well. Generally though, these authors have a following and have been cultivating their brand over time.
I have a design background and am a very visual person. When I’m writing my stories I have an idea in my head of what I want my book covers to convey to my readers. It’s never to early to look for graphics and photos for your cover. There are many royalty free sites you can buy from, just be sure you purchase the right license to use. Read the fine print!
One of the first things you will need is an editing program. A few popular ones are Photoshop (Expensive) and Gimp (Free) There are a myriad of tutorials for both on YouTube. I use Gimp.
I subscribe to the KISS method of covers (Keep it simple stupid) I’m a novice and I learn new things every day. You can search for ‘brushes’ to use with your Gimp or photoshop software. Brushes can be anything! (The wolves on my Fractured Moon cover are from a brush pack) I try to make sure the fonts I choose go with my overall theme. It’s also accepted practice to use no more than two different fonts per cover. You don’t want to go crazy, so choose wisely.
Your title should be bold and prominent, as well as easy to read. Of course, this is my opinion, but I don’t like overly scripted fonts. The swirly ones drive me crazy. If I have to try and decipher the title by staring at it for to long, then your font is no good.
Stay with a compatible color scheme. I like to make sure my colors match the feel of my book. Passion, horror, etc, those colors remind me of reds, blacks and deeper colors. On the flip side, if you have a sweet romantic novel, you want sweet, romantic colors.
I like to see covers with a touch of realism. I think people should be the color of people. I’ve seen a few covers where the cover artist or author alters the color of the people to a color. I saw a sickly green color used on a couple and for a moment it made me think they were sick, or that the book was about getting sick. I found it weird. But I’m odd, and maybe other readers don’t mind when the couple on a book is a color other than ‘normal’. (And I am not talking inter-racial etc. I’m talking a red person or a blue person or a weird green person) Unless of course your book is about Aliens, or it’s a sci-fi novel, then by all means, make them have scales and cool colors
Also my opinion, but I don’t like full frontal faces. When I’m reading I like to insert my own version of the characters in the book and I don’t want to be influenced by the cover — but that is my own hangup. Many readers and authors prefer to have people on their covers. To each their own.
My covers are far from perfect, but they suit my personality and my vision for my novels. I also like to stick with a theme for my books. For my marriage series, the covers all have legs up in the air.
For my Cordelia Kelly series, the place holder covers were more abstract design, making you wonder what the story is about. Now you can see what the real cover looks like below.
If you don’t want to spend an obscene amount of time designing your covers (Yes, I’ve spent an obscene amount of time on mine. I’m a bit of a control freak, and a perfectionist with details) There are plenty of places where you can buy pre-made book covers for a reasonable amount of money. There are also a few places and designers that offer beautiful work, but their prices are really high. If I had the money, I would consider a few of them, but alas, I don’t right now and so I look longingly at them and design my own.
If you would like to buy pre-made covers here are a few places and if you know of others, please put them in the comments and I will update this list.
Book Graphics – Her prices are reasonable, and I like a lot of her covers. There is bound to be something for everyone.
Sizzling PR Marissa and her team also offer virtual book tours, editing and other packages.
For the Muse (I love a lot of her covers)
AM Design Studio (Some lovely covers)
A few last links to cover designers:
Daniel Skinner works with Authors on their book covers.
WinterWolf Studios (Has so many amazing photos for possible cover use)
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