4 Questions To Ask Yourself When Designing Your Book Cover

You know the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well that doesn’t apply in this industry. You will most definitely be judged by the cover of your book. It is the first thing that will draw a reader to your book in a bookstore. It is what makes your book stand out amongst all the other thousands and thousands of books online. So how can you make sure you have the right cover for your book? Following are a few questions you can ask yourself to assist.

  1. Who is your audience? You always want to think of your reader first. What age are they? Where might they live? What types of things do they like to do? What kind of style might they have or be attracted to? If your audience is urban, you want a cover that reflects that lifestyle. If your audience is mature and refined, you want your cover to reflect that and so on.
  2. Does the title match the cover art? What does Dr. Seuss’s children’s book, The Cat In The Hat, have on the cover? It has a picture of a cat wearing a hat! Of course you don’t need to be that literal with your approach, but the two should tie together in some way that the reader can see. If the title of your book is The Big Car Chase, you probably don’t want a picture of a dog playing the violin on it. It wouldn’t relate and it wouldn’t make much sense to the reader either.
  3. Are you using the colors as key? You don’t need to use the brightest neon colors to necessarily catch the reader’s attention. However, the combination and contrast of the colors used may help. Different colors can be used to draw out different emotions in people. For example, while yellow and orange are bright and exciting, blue and purple are calmer and transfer that energy as such. Take those “For Dummies” books. All of them are yellow and black. Making all those books yellow and black not only draws your eye easily, but now you have a set image in your head of those books. Anytime you’re looking for one, you know what colors to look for.
  4. Is your book cover any different? Particularly in the Urban Fiction or Street Lit genre, you will find that a vast majority of those books have a similar look. Each one has a half naked sexy woman, a half naked sexy man, or a combination with both a half naked sexy woman and man. Sure, the poses may vary, but still it’s pretty much the same format. I remember standing in a bookstore looking at the Urban Fiction wall and slowly walking down the wall trying to see if any of the books didn’t have the half naked man or woman, either posed or sprawled out on the cover. I was only able to find 2 or 3 out of about 60 books. When a reader is looking at book after book after book of the same type of cover, it’s hard to make a decision on which book to pick up to dig deeper. You don’t want yours to get lost in the shuffle.

These were just a few tips to help get your great book cover started. Remember, it can be simple or extravagant as long as it catches the reader’s eye. That is the ultimate goal.