Covers clearly make a big difference when it comes to selling ebooks. But while creating a great design is easier said than done, avoiding a handful of obvious pitfalls can go a long way towards making a cover that readers will appreciate — and, more importantly, buy.
To illustrate this point, we asked our coworkers here at BookBub to design some of their own “bad” book covers. Aside from being quite an entertaining exercise, it illuminated a number of issues that any good designer should avoid. Below are 9 mistakes you should look out for:
1. Amateur Fonts
While Comic Sans may be the most egregious violator, examples of unfortunate font choices abound, as evidenced by the half dozen or so in the cover below. It’s important to make sure your typeface is both professional and legible — in the case of digital covers, when the reader often sees a small thumbnail image, that usually means large.
2. Copyright Fails
Even if it’s on a book called Shutterstruck, no one wants to see a copyright watermark on a cover.
3. Amateur Photoshopping Skills
Especially if you’ve spent hours laboring on the perfect cover, sometimes it can be hard to be objective about how great it actually looks. For example, this BookBub employee went a little too heavy on the Photoshop special effects tools.
4. Poor Image Quality
Visible pixels, family photos, and other clearly unprofessional images can ruin even the most ambitious of cover designs.
5. DIY Graphics
Don’t use MS Paint to design your cover! Don’t do it!
On a serious note, it’s difficult to use basic design software to create a quality cover, as evidenced below.
6. Boring Color Choices
Are you excited to read this book? We didn’t think so.
7. Uninspiring Quotes
Anecdotes and reviews can be a great way to spruce up your cover… if they make your book sound good. The BookBubber below clearly didn’t take our advice to heart — just check out the hardly positive quotes on the cover below.
(Plus, see point #1 about making your typeface legible!)
8. Bad CGI
Graphic design can go seriously awry if not done well. Unless you’re versed in the nuances of CGI (as we’re clearly not), it may be a good idea to hire a designer with expertise who can help. See the example below for proof.
9. Too Much Going On
Lastly, your cover shouldn’t make people feel dizzy, or confused, or anything other than what a cover is intended to do: Entice readers to pick up your book.
As the examples above illustrate, it’s clearly very difficult to design a great cover. In order to make sure your book gets the first impression it deserves, it’s always a good idea to get some objective feedback on your design before it hits your product page. Further, an upfront investment in a cover designer has the potential to pay you back many times over. Ultimately, if you’re a professional writer, you should have a cover to match.
Authors, what do you think about the tips above? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below!
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