How to make a good book cover - book marketing guide #4

Self-published book marketing
A good book cover can be the single most powerful book promotion tool at your disposal. People say 'Do not judge a book by it's cover," but the truth is that everyone does it. A cover is the face of a book, and, like it or not, the very first impression of your book will be always based on the cover.

One of the things working at Goodkindles - promoting a lot of books - has taught us is that ebooks offer great opportunities. Experimenting with covers, changing them etc., used to be simply impossible,  when a publisher had already printed 20,000 copies of a book.  Today, as a self-published author you can and, more importantly, you should experiment with different versions of your cover.

Of course, everyone's taste is different and it is impossible to create an universal piece of art that will be appreciated by everybody - but while creating a cover on your own in Photoshop, Gimp, Adobe Indesign (or some other graphical design software), or while having it made by an artist, you should be aware of some things.

  • Your cover should be easy to look at and sharp in many different sizes and resolutions - on a big tablet screen, 6-inch kindle reader screen, a smartphone, but also in miniature size on Amazon products list.
  • Your cover should not lose its features when converted to a black-and-white version (as it will lose colors on ebook readers).
  • The title should be the single most important area on the cover
  • Do not try to hide or downplay the author's name. A lot of authors have reported an increase in sales when they increased the size of their author's name on the cover. We are not entirely sure if that should be regarded as true, but there is a theory that author's name written in a small font is something done commonly by indie authors,  while big names are just that - big.
  • The main version of the cover should be big, at least as big as the pixel dimensions of the most advanced reading devices - in 2014 it should be at least as big as the Ipad resolution which is 2048-by-1536 pixels.
  • Do not experiment with non-standard proportions. There were publishers who experimented with square, round and horizontal sizes - and all these experiments were failures (the exception is books for kids, which sometimes sell fine with funny shapes and sizes).
  • The colors are completely up to you, but be aware that a universal rule says that the cover should be easily noticeable and stand out. In fact what we recommend is to perform a solid research and experiment with at least two different versions of you cover. Check the best selling books of your genre. Are they mostly done with a blueish background and the title font is Trajan Pro? Then make two versions of your cover, one blue with title in Trajan Pro, the other completely different. Use one for some period of time, then switch to the other. Compare the sales results and decide which one is better.

In the next chapter of our book promotion guide, we will have a short talk about how to write a good book description. And of course do not forget to promote your book by submitting it to our site!