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Top 11 Book Cover Design Tips For Independent Authors

by Anne Carton Tweet - in Book Cover Design

Book Cover Design

Last updated on October 28th, 2021

An author must catch the attention of potential readers and buyers by their writings. If the author is new, finding readers becomes harder. For both, the new as well as the established authors, book cover design plays a crucial role in catching the customers’ eye when hundreds of books are lined up in a bookshelf. Therefore, the cover design must be attractive and unique.

When we visit a bookstore or a library, a massive number of books overwhelm us there. Even a smaller bookshelf has many books than we can see at a glance. Sometimes, this creates a problem of plenty as choosing one book out of many becomes difficult.

It is here that a memorable book cover design can play its role. A unique book cover can compel a customer to pick it up and scan its pages.

In the world where the attention span of people is decreasing fast, the success of a book cover is in catching the potential customers’ eye. There is no doubt that we do judge a book by its cover.

So, while you wrote the book with a lot of research, make sure that its cover design is attractive and enticing. After all, the cover is the face of the book, which should look impressive and enticing to the buyers.

An independent author should work closely with a book cover designer to create the cover. Remember that the cover should give a hint of what is inside of the pages. So, the author’s involvement in designing the cover becomes all the more critical.

Here Are Top 11 Book Cover Design Tips For Independent Authors

01. Hire An Experienced Designer

Most independent authors usually have no idea of how to create book covers. Therefore, hire an experienced designer who will advise on different aspects of the cover will play a key advisory role, besides designing it. The designer can put forth the suggestions about the choice of colors, fonts, images, etc. to the author.

A professional book cover designer understands the nuances of design very well. The designer has the right tools and resources to implement your vision of the book into a visual on the cover.

Experienced Designer

When choosing a designer, go through many design portfolios and compare them for the design styles. After you call a designer for an interview, enquire about a set number of concept sketches and the number of revisions the designer will provide.

Hire the designer whose fee is well within reach of your small budget. Since you are an independent author, who has no collaboration with a publishing house, your financial means may be limited. So, when comparing the designers, settle for the one whose design service is affordable.

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02. Have A Unique Book Cover Concept

The first thing to ensure after you hire the designer is to arrive at a unique cover concept. Talk to the designer about your book’s theme. If possible, make the designer read your book. That is important.

Designing a book jacket without reading the book will take the design nowhere. You can develop the concept after having an extended conversation with the designer over your book.

Book Cover Concept

03. Highlight A Single Element

One of the tricks to creating fantastic book cover designs is to emphasize one element. Highlight that element so that it dominates the entire design. With this, the cover will catch the eye instantly due to bold and big design.

Single Element

Such an element could be an image, animation, symbol, a prominent place, an object, and even letters. You should also decide on your visual approach. Is the cover depends on the use of typography or photo, or something else?

04. Use Size And Scale

If every element on the book cover is of the same size, none of them becomes crucial. So, pay attention to the scale and size of these elements. Create one or some of them bigger to draw the attention.

If you are a new author, probably no one knows it. In that case, the title of the book becomes the central element in the cover design.


So, create the title in a bigger size if it is catchy. The title can be used to evoke some emotion and narrative. Make it the largest and clearest design on the cover. A title in bold letters will grab the attention.

If the author is famous, then the author’s name should be scaled up on the cover design. Such a design is useful also to the book cover maker who will manually or mechanically bind the book.

05. Avoid Clutter

If your book cover has too many images, typefaces, and other information, it only contributes to the visual noise. Many elements are competing for the viewer’s attention. As a net result, the viewer is confused and cannot decide over the core message of the cover. It is hard to discern what is relevant and essential in the cover design.

Avoid Clutter

So, avoid too many colors, images, use of more than two fonts, quotes that compete with the author’s name or title of the book, outlines, gradients, and many drop shadows.

06. Choose Typefaces Carefully

The use of typography can make or break your book cover design. While colors evoke our feelings, typefaces give a personality to a design. However, make sure that you use only one or two typefaces to avoid cluttering of the cover. Also, avoid using typefaces in all caps.

Choose Typefaces Carefully

It is better to use one serif and one sans serif typeface for some visual relationship and harmony between them. Choose the fonts that have a good range of weights and options so that you can experiment with them to maintain unity amongst the different elements.

Avoid using a font size below 8 points and do not stack typefaces. If you do, then the viewers will find it difficult to read the cover. Do not outline the type as it does not look pleasant to the eyes.

07. Consider The Cover Size

Remember that in today’s digital world, products are being sold online. Many online sites such as Amazon sell books. As an author, you would also like to put your book online for sales. But your cover photo will appear in thumbnail size on the websites for selling of books.

This should compel you to approve a book cover design that looks equally impressive in the small thumbnail size. This is also the reason that a simple design with fewer details is preferred nowadays.

Consider The Cover Size

Your book cover should reveal every fine detail when its size is reduced to display it online bookshelves. The design should look perfect in postage stamp size. This is a universal principle that applies not just to book cover but also to all designs.

08. Keep The Cover Design Simple

Well, that is the advice expert designers repeatedly give to the amateurs. An advantage of keeping it simple is that everyone can grasp your message without scratching head for the meaning.

But that does not mean that the cover should reveal everything about the content details inside. What it means is that some of the striking elements should be telling the viewer or user about the content.

Keep The Book Cover Design Simple

When you hire a professional graphic designer, instruct that you want a simple but effective cover. You can even show some inspirational book covers to the designer to let him know about your preferences.

09. Consider Print And Digital Aspects

If you create book cover design for printing purpose, its resolution must be higher than the eBook version of the cover. So, if you save the design in a smaller file size, it may not work well when you want to expand. For instance, you can’t extend a web-ready 72 ppi file to use it for print. Setting the files up to 300 ppi would be good.

Consider Print And Digital Aspects

If you’re an author and planning an eBook, first think of the book cover for printing purpose as you may release the book in print in the future.

10. Prefer Vector Over Pixels

When preparing the digital files of your book cover design, you can choose raster, which is pixel-based images or vector, which are based on points and lines.

Vector files are surely far better option as it preserves a high-quality of the image and you can enlarge it at any size without losing the quality. When you hire graphic design services of a designer, make it a point that you get the design image in a proper file.

Prefer Vector Over Pixels

However, if you have to work in pixels, for example, Photoshop, then ensure that the image is not smaller than your requirement. If you blow the image, it will appear like trash. This means that the pixel file should be of the same size that you need it in print.

11. Consider Visual Branding

Is your book cover design is in the line of the past series? If that is the case, then use the same fonts, images, typography, illustration, etc. elements from the previous covers of the book. When the reader sees those elements, they are reminded that the book is in continuation of the last series.

If you promoted your past series of the book using your social media page then make sure that the elements from the page and book cover continue to be there in the new book cover for brand consistency.

Consider Visual Branding

So, these are the significant points to consider when as an author you think of creating an attractive book cover design.

You can also explore Designhill, a prominent design marketplace that has thousands of talented designers and many of them will work to create your book cover. Just launch your design contest on this site and get dozens of new design ideas.

Are You Looking for a New Graphic Designer?If Yes, Call Us on +1-855-699-2851 [times for calling 9am to 6pm EST (US)] or Register for a Free Design Consultation


A unique book cover design is a way to attract potential readers and buyers of a book. An independent author should pay heed to the concept of the cover, colors, typefaces, and simplicity of the design. But it should be a scalable design that appears excellent in smaller sizes for online selling of the book.

Get Your Book Cover Design

Anne Carton is a small business consultant, designer and an enthusiast blogger working with Designhill, one of the fastest-growing custom design marketplace. She has authored several blogs, articles and editorials on various topics related to interactive content, concerning design, social media strategies, growth hack strategies, digital marketing and e-commerce. Facebook | Twitter

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