Five Tips for a Great Cover Design
The cover of your book is important because it’s the first thing a reader sees. You’ll want it to have a design that grabs their attention and portrays an accurate idea of what your book is about. In this video, we’ll share with you five important tips to keep in mind when submitting your ideas for the design of your cover.
#1: Be General and Open-Minded
The more general your cover idea is, the more likely we’ll be able to create a successful design. If your cover idea is too detailed, we may have difficulty creating a design that looks professional. For example, if you want to see a man and a woman on the beach, this is a general idea that can probably be turned into a very attractive cover. But if you want a man and a woman of very specific ages, ethnicities, hair color, and clothing, we may have a very hard time finding images that match your description. Our covers are created from stock images and photography in a large subscription library. While our designers are able to manipulate these images to an extent, it is still a good idea to keep your cover idea as general as possible.
Also, try to be as open minded about your idea, and if possible, try to think of more than one possible design concept. This will keep your designers’ options open, allowing them to pursue the idea or design that can be completed the most professionally and attractively.
#2: Don’t Show Too Much of Your Character
It may be tempting to show your book’s main character on the cover but this usually isn’t a very good idea. Most readers prefer to use their imagination to depict the story and characters in their head. In addition, it can be very difficult for a designer to find a stock image that lives up to your expectations of what your character looks like.
If you think it is important for your main character to be represented on the cover, there are ways to do this without revealing the whole character. Consider using a silhouette of the character or perhaps showing them in either small part or from behind. These alternatives will spark your readers’ interest without limiting their imaginations.
#3: Be Simple, Strong and Symbolic
Refrain from depicting a specific scene on the cover of your book. A specific scene is often difficult to assemble using stock images and is usually not the best way to tell potential readers what your book is about. Remember that the front cover is the first thing that most readers will see. Without the proper context, a specific scene may not have any meaning to them.
It is better to be more symbolic or iconic with your cover design. Try to come up with a simple eye-catching idea that anyone will understand upon first sight. Keep in mind that most people will see your book as a tiny picture on a bookstore website or out the corner of their eye in a bookstore. In either instance, a strong, simple, symbolic cover is much more likely to catch their attention than one that is complicated or cluttered.
#4: Research at Your Local Bookstore and Browse Stock Images
If you’re having trouble coming up with an idea for your cover, it may be a good idea to do some research. Go to a bookstore and examine books of the same genre. This can give you some ideas or suggestions for your own book’s cover design. Once you have an idea in mind, you can browse and purchase stock images on the Web. You can also contact a representative to find out which stock image site we currently subscribe to. If you find one to two images at the site we use, we can obtain them for you at no additional charge. Just be sure to let us know the image ID numbers of the pictures you’ve selected.
#5: Don’t Forget the Technical Stuff
There are a few technical guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to your book’s cover design. The first is to be aware of copyright issues when submitting images for your cover. If an image appears to be copyrighted, we will not be able to use it without written permission from the copyright holder. Submitting copyrighted images without permission may also delay your book’s production. You can avoid potential copyright infringement by submitting images you have taken yourself or by choosing licensed images from stock image Web sites.
It is also important that your images be high resolution. Resolution refers to the crispness or quality of focus in your images. Cover images must have a resolution of no less than 300 PPI or DPI. In addition, they must be a size suitable for their intended use. You can learn more about image size and resolution requirements in our video, Using Images to Bring Your Book to Life.
If you are submitting a finalized cover design, you can prevent production delays by submitting it as a layered TIFF or layered Photoshop file where the text is on a separate layer from the images.
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