Don’t judge a book by its cover.
This old cliché, while true, is not often practiced in everyday life. People do judge books by their covers. I know I do. God created us to be visual.
Think about these statistics:
- In conversations, 55% of what is communicated is done through body language (visual), not words or tone or voice (auditory).
- Facebook posts that have the most engagement contain photos.
- Tweets on Twitter that receive the most retweets boast images.
- 74% of people in the United States regularly use emoticons or emojis in their online communication.
Your book cover design is extremely important in the success of your book. Your cover is your most important marketing tool. It is what readers see first when they look at your book. Your cover can draw people in or turn them off.
For many independently published authors and small publishers, hiring a book cover designer is not in their budget. While having a professional design a book cover is one way to ensure that your book’s cover is appealing and engaging, a good book cover design can be created without a professional.
Amazon allows authors and publishers using their CreateSpace or Kindle Direct Publishing programs to create free book covers. The good news is that if you want your ebook in more places than Kindle, or you are not using CreateSpace to produce your print book, there are other programs you can use to create free or inexpensive book covers. Two of these programs include:
Canva is a free, browser-based design tool that offers templates in all sizes for social media and print media uses. They have a book cover maker that allows users to create a book cover for an ebook or a print book. With Canva’s book cover templates you have access to over 130 fonts and over one million stock images, or you can upload your own image.
Pressbooks is a book creation tool for ebook or print books. The service includes a cover creator for both ebook and print books. For print books, Pressbooks’ cover creation tool uses the number of pages and type of paper you want to calculate the correct spine width. All you need is a background image for the front cover. The service has fonts and background colors to choose from.
There are a few important things to keep in mind if you are creating your own book cover.
1. Make sure your title is clear and easy to read.
Your title should be able to be seen clearly across a room or in a one-inch-sized thumbnail sketch on your computer. The size, color, and font all matter.
2. Use a professional photo or illustration.
Your book’s cover helps you stand out from the competition. An engaging, colorful image is important.
3. Conform to industry standards.
Your book cover needs to look like other book covers in your genre, but still be different. In other words, if your cover looks odd or out-of-place, or lacks essential elements, it will scream self-published and readers will pass it by. Study your competition so you can create a book cover that sells.
A lot of independently published authors and small publishers use templates to design their book covers. Beware, though, that an overused template will also keep you from standing out in a crowd. If you choose to use a template, be sure to customize your book’s cover for your message and audience.
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