Four Simple Steps To Make Your Book Cover Look Professional

The idiom, “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” may be true for both books and people, but the reality is if your self-published book looks self-published, it will hurt your sales.

When I decided to self-publish, I made it a priority to create a cover that looked professional.  Too many of the self-published books I had seen looked terrible.  They had bad graphics, cheesy illustrations and pixilated images.  Their authors’ might as well have stamped THIS PIECE OF CRAP WAS SELF PUBLISHED on the cover.  A bad cover might be fine for a vanity project but NOT if you’re planning on selling your book to folks outside of your circle of family and friends.

William Snyder's books on display

Here are four simple steps to make your self-published book and/or e-book cover look professional.

1.  Research what the pros are doing

To find out what a good cover looks like, take a walk through your nearest bookstore. Check out the fonts, colors and images being used.  And focus on how the books in your specific genre look.  What catches your eye?  For example, I noticed in my section the orange books really popped off the shelves.

2.  Hire a graphic designer 

I worked with a friend to come up with and create the basic design for my first book cover. While I was happy with it, we didn’t have the editing tools to implement it professionally. And that’s how I found myself on the trail of a professional graphic designer. While it was difficult to find a designer who would return my calls and keep appointments, I finally found my guy.

3.  Don’t settle – work on your cover until it has the desired “wow” factor

Our first few design attempts didn’t quite do it for me. While I drove my graphic designer nuts exploring different concepts, I didn’t stop until we had a design that was perfect.  It cost a bit more money but at the end of the day it was definitely worth it.

4.  Make sure your cover looks good in print and online

The majority of my books are sold online, so it was important to create covers that translated well when reduced down to a thumbnail image.  Make sure your title is clear and readable and any images remain distinguishable and are of sufficient resolution.

Best of luck with your self-published book project and feel free to contact me with any questions.

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