You already know the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Unfortunately, we all still judge books by their covers. Design impacts our buying decisions all the time, but today I want to talk to you specifically about the importance of a good book cover.
But first, let’s think about your book like a food truck. You could buy Joe’s Tacos out of a beat-up, red van without a name on it. Or, you could buy Joe’s Tacos out of a shiny, teal-and-yellow-striped taco truck. Same tacos, but which one are you more interested in? Your book content is the same, but a book cover may attract or repel readers!
Here are some things to think about when it comes to your cover design:
Find the balance between following trends and doing your own thing.
Think about both print and online.
Design for your audience.
Find the balance between following trends and doing your own thing. Having a Harry Potter-esque cover design for a business leadership book probably wouldn’t work, and vice versa. But, for example, business leadership book covers generally have large, bold text on them. You could experiment with bold colors, altering the layout a bit, or add in a small element of illustration.
Print and Online
Think about both print and online. If you are going to be publishing your book physically and digitally, you need to think about how your cover will look when it’s listed online. Is it going to look like everything else? Is it going to be easy to read? Again, this is where colors, layout, and illustration or images will come into play!
Design for your audience. I know your favorite color is purple, and you have that favorite font of yours — but is it the best fit for your cover? A book is much more permanent than a simple social media graphic. You should also consider the psychological impact that fonts and colors can have on your design.
With those things in mind, now you can start to brainstorm cover ideas for your book! If you want to include a photo or illustration, brainstorm with the help of a bubble map. I worked on Monique Melton’s first book, EntrepreFriendships, last year and did this when brainstorming for her cover. When I thought of business and friendships, I thought of chairs, people, and hands. Monique was picturing a rope, to convey being connected (or tied). So, then we thought about multi-colored ropes, multiple ropes, and ropes with knots. Eventually landing on a rope with a heart knot in it! This showed connection and heart, both of which are important in friendships.
It’s never a bad idea to really invest the time and energy into creating a great book cover! A great cover design will always help draw more attention to your book — whether it’s on Instagram, a bookshelf, or Amazon.com.
Jessica Freeman is an award-winning graphic and web designer, helping service-based entrepreneurs create a brand that shines through every level of their business. Outside of designing, she also loves producing for her YouTube channel and podcast, Journeys in Business. Jess lives in Atlanta, with her husband, Aaron. Learn more at www.jesscreatives.com.