Book Cover Design: Your 7-Step Guide to an Unforgettable Cover

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Book Cover Design: Your 7-Step Guide to an Unforgettable Cover

An ideal ebook cowl design, at its most simple stage, is one thing that may assist readers take you and your ebook critically. On-line retailers like Amazon don’t distinguish between conventional and self-published books — which suggests impartial authors are sometimes competing in opposition to Huge 5 publishers. In case your ebook stands an opportunity at succeeding, its design has to match or, if doable, exceed what the most important corporations are placing out.

On this submit, we’ll take a look at how one can design a ebook cowl by your self. We’ll then take a look at why you must contemplate skilled cowl design (and offer you a value estimate) earlier than revealing how you could find and collaborate together with your superb designer.

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How you can design a ebook cowl in 7 steps

Ebook cowl design is a posh steadiness of photos, textual content, and knowledge — and also you want somebody who understands how every of those components interacts with the others to finest promote your ebook.

However when you do resolve to make your individual cowl, listed below are 7 steps that you simply’ll need to observe.

1. Discover inspiration and concepts to your cowl

Aside out of your skill to execute a design, crucial side of ebook covers is their skill to attach with the goal market: that’s, the people who find themselves possible to purchase the sort of title you’re writing. Due to this fact, your first cease for inspiration ought to all the time be the opposite books in your style.

Check out the bestselling titles in your class and also you’ll possible see visible kinds and motifs popping up repeatedly. That is no coincidence. Publishers are all the time trying to talk to their goal market that this ebook is the one you’re in search of. And if meaning taking a cue from the style’s hottest books, then that’s what they’ll do.

Thriller Book Cover Design on Amazon
(Screenshot: Amazon)

In fact, throughout the constraints of a style’s present visible fashion, there are many alternatives to play with fascinating concepts, putting imagery, and creative typography. For extra concepts, take a look at these 68 ebook cowl concepts and this gallery of current ebook cowl artwork by Reedsy professionals. And do not forget the again of your ebook cowl in your brainstorming!

2. Select your cowl design software program

Mainly, any graphical software program can be utilized to design a canopy. Some packages are appropriate for non-professionals — and a few, like Ebook Brush, are particularly designed to cater to authors. They’re often extremely straightforward to make use of, and might produce some smart-looking covers. They’re, nevertheless, considerably restricted by the variety of templates they’ve in any given style. Anybody can acquire entry to skilled instruments like InDesign and Photoshop (which each supply free trials) which have a a lot steeper studying curve: lots of people know easy methods to use Photoshop, however not nicely.

If you wish to know extra, take a look at this listing of standard ebook cowl makers that will help you design your individual ebook cowl.

3. Discover free photos or use Shutterstock

You’d be stunned what number of authors take photos from Google searches with out paying for them. That is unlawful, and more likely to land you with a letter from the rights holder asking for damages.

Except you’re trying to make use of your individual pictures or illustrations, head to a free inventory picture library like Pixabay or Unsplash— which have hundreds of photos that you should use with out attribution. Or, for a considerably wider alternative of photos, strive one of many massive libraries like Shutterstock: relying on what graphics you’re after, the license payment could solely be a couple of {dollars}.

Book Cover Design Images on Pixabay

4. Resolve in your cowl’s dimensions

In case you’re solely creating an book, that is very easy: Amazon suggests a super dimension of two,560 x 1,600 pixels — though you have got some freedom to mess around with totally different side ratio. Different retailers and distributors have related beneficial sizes, so when you hit this Amazon superb, you’ll be secure.

Nonetheless, for printed books, issues get way more complicated. You must take into consideration normal ebook sizes inside your style, then issue within the web page rely and paper density in order that precisely how thick the backbone must be. After which there’s the matter of typesetting the again cowl — which is an artwork to itself.

Finally, in case your intention is to promote printed variations of your ebook, you must strongly contemplate hiring knowledgeable ebook cowl designer. There are too many variables at play for an beginner to have an opportunity at creating one thing credible.

5. Get your typography proper

Red-Headed League by Arthur Conan Doyle Book Cover Design

Typography, or the usage of lettering on the duvet, is one thing virtually all non-professional cowl designers battle with. We have got an in depth information to it right here, however to get you began, listed below are a couple of pointers:

  • See how textual content is dealt with on standard covers in your style. Is the font serif or sans serif? How ‘heavy’ is the textual content?
  • Discover some selection. Keep away from utilizing the identical typeface for the title, creator title, and tagline — however don’t go loopy and use greater than 2 or 3 fonts.
  • Keep away from fonts with a variety of ‘baggage.’ Don’t use Papyrus or Comedian Sans or every other typeface that has its personal meme.
  • Preserve your title comparatively small. Except you might be actually well-known, the creator title shouldn’t be bigger than the title.
  • Give the reader some credit score. Don’t really feel the necessity to embody “written by” or “a novel by” — readers can determine that out for themselves.
  • Preserve it easy. One of the crucial widespread beginner design errors is to make the duvet far too busy. Coco Chanel as soon as mentioned, “earlier than you allow the home, look within the mirror and take a minimum of one factor off.” This recommendation is one thing that extra DIY designers can study from: all the time see what it might appear like with one much less shade or composited picture.

To study extra about typography and ebook design, take a look at our month-to-month Cowl Critiques on Reedsy Reside.

6. Ensure you export the right recordsdata

Hiding Haelo Book Cover Design

One of the best design on this planet gained’t matter when you can’t really ship your cowl within the right format.

For an book, you’ll merely have to export your entrance cowl as a superb old style JPEG. In case you’re utilizing a POD (Print on Demand) firm to promote print copies, you’ll have to carefully observe their particular person necessities — which is able to often contain producing a PDF of the entrance, backbone, and again cowl that has the suitable decision and makes use of the right shade system.

Prime Tip: As we talked about earlier, the again cowl of a ebook is an artwork unto itself. In case you’re in search of recommendation in that regard, go to this submit to search out out extra about making a again cowl that sells. And when you want an environment friendly technique to convert an EPUB to a MOBI, look no additional than this on-line converter.

7. Check your designs

In case you’re torn between two cowl designs, why not check them together with your audience? Use Fb promoting run an A/B check — the place you get two units of individuals from the identical viewers and expose them to an advert. One viewers sees an advert together with your ‘A’ cowl, and the opposite sees one together with your ‘B’ cowl. The advert that will get extra clicks is the winner!

To learn how nicely A/B exams can work, see what occurred when Reedsy professionals redesigned the covers of 4 self-published books.

And there now we have it: that’s the way you do it. So, when you’re an creator trying to create a ebook cowl, do you have to simply observe these six steps? Properly, not when you may also help it. On this subsequent part, we’ll be trying carefully at working with skilled cowl designers, and why it ought to be excessive on each creator’s precedence listing.

Getting knowledgeable cowl design

An expert designer brings extra than simply Photoshop expertise to the desk. Ebook cowl design is a posh steadiness of photos, textual content, and knowledge — and also you want somebody who understands how every of those components interacts with the others to finest promote your ebook.

A designer who focuses on ebook jackets understands how readers reply to format and typography. They perceive the present traits and might see how your cowl will compete out there. Most significantly, they’ll know easy methods to talk the suitable message together with your cowl.

Better of all, ebook cowl designers usually cost fairly pretty for a high quality ebook cowl. We first advocate taking this brief quiz to learn how a lot it might value you to get knowledgeable ebook cowl design. Our knowledge is predicated instantly on actual quotes from the Reedsy market.

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Your cowl can be a ebook advertising device. That implies that you must have the ability to quantify its worth in a dollars-and-cents manner. To point out you the way knowledgeable cowl can change your ebook’s fortunes, we’ll take a look at a real-life case research.

The Thomas Berrington Collection

David Penny is the creator of the Thomas Berrington books, a collection of historic mysteries set in Fifteenth-century Spain. After publishing the primary two books, David made the powerful resolution to rebrand his novels and fee new covers.

“I noticed that there was a disconnect between the advertising I used to be doing and the unique covers. My books are historic mysteries, and the covers gave an impression of a thriller as a substitute.”

Book Cover Design Red Hill Rebrand Before

Certainly, a canopy has to successfully talk what the ebook is — its style, fashion, and content material. In case your jacket is deceptive, promising a Da Vinci Code kind page-turner however delivering one thing else, you’ll solely entice (and disappoint) the incorrect kind of readers.

“One of many advantages of hiring knowledgeable cowl designer is that he/she can have an intimate consciousness of design traits inside a given style,” says U.S. designer Kevin Barrett Kane. “Emulating the designs of different titles inside a given style could make a ebook look generic, however being too unique with the design dangers complicated readers in regards to the topic of your ebook. An skilled cowl designer is aware of easy methods to thread the needle between the overdone and the ambiguous.”

When it got here time to rebrand his historic mysteries The Crimson Hill and Breaker of Bones, David Penny took a extra hands-off function within the course of.

“I left the transient intentionally imprecise this time. I selected the central picture, and from that, [my new designer] Jessica Bell produced three samples and I selected the one I felt was most aligned with what the books are about. After that, I gave her full management over how the completed product would look.”

Book Cover Design Red Hill Rebrand After

David Penny tracked the efficacy of his new covers by evaluating how his Fb adverts carried out earlier than and after the redesign.

“I began experimenting with Fb adverts in November 2015, virtually 6 months earlier than the duvet redesign,” mentioned David. “By February I had misplaced someplace round £300 on an advert spend of over £1,000.”

David discovered that whereas many Fb customers have been clicking on his adverts, few of them ended up shopping for his ebook. Based mostly on this outcome, he had a principle that his adverts had a message and picture (the ebook cowl) that didn’t mirror the ebook being bought when individuals clicked by way of.

“Since altering the covers – but additionally quickly after including a 3rd ebook to the collection – I’ve made little adjustments to my promoting however abruptly, from June 2016, I began making important gross sales. In June 2016 I had my first £1,000 revenue month. In September I had my first £2,000 month and at current, I’m predicting revenue of barely over £3,000 for January 2017.

“My recommendation to indie authors is to get knowledgeable cowl designer and permit them to make a lot of the selections – it’s what they do, and also you’re too near your individual ebook to make rational selections on this space.”

Now that we all know precisely what an efficient cowl can do, let’s take a look at how authors can go about giving their books the skilled design they deserve. And for that, we have to seek for designers with the suitable expertise.

How you can discover the suitable ebook cowl designer

There are many locations on the web the place you could find designers promoting their companies. A few of them will likely be professional freelancers with years of nice expertise, however a overwhelming majority of them is not going to be. With that in thoughts, your first precedence is to hunt out designers with an awesome portfolio and a monitor report of making nice covers inside your style.

We point out style for a purpose. You need a designer who’s nicely versed within the tropes and traits employed by books much like yours.

Book Cover Designs by Jake Clark
(Cowl Designs by Jake Clark)

At Reedsy, we vet all our freelancers to make sure their expertise and excessive work high quality and have made it straightforward for authors to seek for them by style. Nonetheless you select to search for designers, it’s advisable to create a shortlist of candidates. Good designers will usually be booked up for weeks, if not months.

When you’ve narrowed down your candidates, it’s time to begin excited about your transient.

Briefing designers

A well-written transient can pay dividends. Not solely can it make it easier to safe your designer of alternative, nevertheless it lays the bottom for a smoother collaboration and can usually lead to a decrease quote. A superb transient doesn’t simply describe the ebook in gorgeous element; it’s additionally your first (and infrequently solely) likelihood to pitch your self as a collaborator.

“I labored in promoting for 18 years so I can scent it within the air after I know I’m heading right into a mire of countless calls for,” says illustrator and designer Chuck Regan. “I do know who’s going to get the blame when their ebook doesn’t promote due to a canopy they didn’t like.

“Finally, my resolution to work for an creator is predicated on a sliding scale. What’s the subject material? How a lot element is required? What’s the timescale? And the way a lot enjoyable do I feel it will likely be to render the duvet?”

If the designer begins to assume they may not take pleasure in working in your undertaking, they’ll both decline your proposal or quote the next value than they in any other case would. So do not simply knock out your transient in 20 minutes — put a while into it.

Prime Tip: Keep away from the urge to be prescriptive in your transient. You’ll be able to present designers different ebook covers for inspiration, however enable them to make the artistic selections. In spite of everything, that’s what you’re paying them for.

Completely different methods utilized in ebook cowl design

Despite the fact that authors gained’t have to know precisely how the ebook jacket “sausage” is made, it is best to know the duvet design course of. On this part, we’ll take a look at the three fundamental methods utilized by cowl designers and uncover how a lot Reedsy’s designers will cost for every.

Inventory picture manipulation

That is virtually all the time probably the most cost-effective technique to design a canopy, because it doesn’t require your designer to create photos from scratch. A fast look by way of your native bookstore will reveal this to be the most typical approach utilized in fashionable ebook design.

Skilled designers have entry to (actually) hundreds of thousands of photographs, graphics and illustrations by way of picture libraries like Shutterstock and iStock, in addition to extra area of interest picture archives. They’ll license these photos, digitally manipulate them, and infrequently mix them with different photos to create a novel design. The designer will then lay over the title, creator title and every other textual content to finalize your cowl.

Book Cover Design Stock Image Manipulation
Display screen captures: Shutterstock / Razorbill

Within the instance above, the designer of Angela Morrison’s Sing Me to Sleep has used a licensed inventory picture from Shutterstock and ‘manipulated’ it. The girl’s sleeve has been recolored and ‘environment’ has been added within the type of digital snowflakes.

In case your designer takes this strategy, you must first discover out who can pay the picture license — the payment paid to the copyright holder for its business use. Generally, the licenses will likely be paid for by the shopper along with the designer’s base quote.

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“There are a variety of libraries on the market and their costs can vary from $1 per picture to $15 and up,” says designer Jake Clark. “Personally, I stick with the decrease finish of that vary to make my companies extra reasonably priced. There are events the place I’ve particularly sought out sure photographs that value extra. I often know that getting in and let my shopper know and regulate my quote accordingly.”

In distinctive circumstances, picture licenses can add as much as $150. In case you want to use inexpensive imagery, merely inform your designer upfront.

Prime Tip: When briefing designers on Reedsy, you possibly can select to solely use ‘Royalty Free’ photos, for which you gained’t have to pay a license. Keep in mind that this may restrict your designer’s selections.

Covers created with manipulated inventory photos will virtually all the time outcome within the lowest quotes from Reedsy designers.

Common prices of inventory picture covers for self-published authors on Reedsy:

  • Comparatively new ebook designers will cost between $300 and $500
  • Skilled designers will cost between $500 and $800
  • Prime-tier, ‘rockstar’ cowl designers will cost between $800 and $1,500

Working with a ‘rockstar’ designer may seem to be some huge cash, however the place else are you able to rent the most effective in any enterprise for simply two-to-three occasions the price of a relative beginner? Think about if Paul McCartney solely charged twice as a lot as a Beatles tribute act to play your celebration.


Do you know that illustrations can be obtained by way of picture libraries? When designers create an illustration-style cowl, they usually base their designs on inventory illustrations. But when your ebook requires one thing a bit extra particular, your designer will possible spend extra time on the undertaking and cost accordingly.

Bite Me Book Cover Design
Picture: William Morrow & Co.

“The quantity I’ll cost actually depends upon what kind of illustration I am doing,” says Jake Clark. “If it’s going to be much like a Christopher Moore ebook cowl design that’s comparatively easy, then I possible will not cost something extra. But when it’s going to finish up being one thing much like a fantasy ebook cowl then I am going to cost wherever from 1.5 to 2x my standard charge.“

Cowl design and illustration are, for probably the most half, totally different disciplines. A few of the most superb illustrators on Reedsy have little expertise with typography and formatting, whereas the overwhelming majority of designers don’t profess to be expert illustrators in any respect. If their potential purchasers require an illustration, many designers will both reject the undertaking or let you know that they’re outsourcing that a part of the work to a different freelancer.

“I’ve sourced illustrators and introduced them in on tasks I am engaged on,” mentioned Ben Anslow, a UK-based ebook designer. “The invoice’s all the time been picked up by the writer, however a variety of variables apart, I work on the belief that illustrators work on a day charge of about £150-£250 (approx $180-$300).”

In case you ask your designer for a posh illustration (like those on Scholastic’s unique Harry Potter covers), you possibly can moderately count on your finances to double — which is able to account for both the additional workload or the price of commissioning a freelancer.

Prime Tip: Rent an illustrator to create a canopy picture first. As soon as that’s accomplished, you possibly can work with a specialised cowl designer to create your format and organize the textual content. This can usually lead to a decrease general value and a greater consequence.

Authentic Pictures

Loads of fiction and non-fiction books (particularly image-dependent books like cookbooks) use unique pictures for the ebook cowl design. Romance novels and memoirs each spring to thoughts. Nonetheless, organizing a photograph shoot is not any small feat.

“It’s not so simple as hiring a person with a digicam,” says London-based portrait photographer Idil Sukan. “A superb photographer’s day charge may run to £400 or £500 ($500-$620). They could have their very own studio which you should use, however then you definately nonetheless should consider licensing charges, fashions, in addition to hair and make-up. The price of a seemingly easy shoot can rack as much as over £1,000 ($1,200).

Even with this lower-end estimate, skilled pictures can improve your cowl prices by three to 4 occasions. However relying in your wants — and the way guerilla your designer is — this quantity might be much less.

“Some designers have small lighting equipment setups of their workplace or studio,” says Ben Anslow. “Additionally, I do know a couple of designers who usually simply use themselves — or their wives or girlfriends — as fashions to economize. Particularly if it is simply one thing fairly generic, just like the again of somebody’s head or a hand holding an object.”

As a basic rule of thumb, a photograph shoot ought to be the very last thing in your thoughts when you’re making an attempt to handle an affordable finances.

Prime Tip: Nearly all of books printed by the Huge 5 will use pre-existing, licensed photos — whether or not pictures or illustrations. It’s merely the best and most cost-effective technique to create a canopy. Most designers will advocate this strategy, except there’s an unavoidable want for bespoke photos.

At this level, chances are you’ll be questioning what the design course of really appears to be like like, when you’ve employed a designer. That will help you perceive what’s concerned, we’ve created an infographic that explains all of it from begin to end

Infographic: Making a Ebook Cowl That Sells

Obtain the complete infographic right here.

Book Cover Design Infographic

Book Cover Design Step One

Book Cover Design Step Two

Book Cover Design Step Three

Book Cover Design Step Four

Book Cover Design Step Five

Book Cover Design Step Six

Book Cover Design Step Seven

Tell us your ideas and questions on ebook cowl design within the feedback beneath.

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