Everyone knows that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but unfortunately some people just can’t help it. Many self-published books have great content, but front cover design lets them down. To avoid losing readers and to help your book stand out on the shelf, here are our five step solutions to achieving a book cover that is as great as the content.
When visualising your book cover, you may have different ideas on a daily basis. To help organise your designs and thoughts, a mood board can put all of your designs into one place. Pull a collage together of inspirational visual cues that could help you portray the book’s message to its audience. Photos, colours, patterns, illustrations and typeface – all merge together to contribute to the perfect book cover.
Your book cover isn’t just a pretty picture, or a place to write your name. A book cover is the packaging for your product. It should always communicate to the reader an idea of the kind of book it contains. It therefore also needs to fit in with the packaging that similar products use. Search online to see how book covers have been approached that have a similar theme to your own. You will be surprised how similar they are. Colour schemes, images and text that vary all seem to follow a guideline, depending on genre. To make your book distinctive you should anchor it to existing consumer expectations, but still add your own unique personal stamp.
If you are going to use a photographic image, it’s worth ensuring that it’s high-quality. There is a big discrepancy between amateur and professional photos and the differences will be glaringly obvious when printed on a book cover. It’s important to avoid choosing a low-quality photo for sentimental reasons. However, if you have the equipment and the skills to take stunning photos on your own, this certainly could be the perfect way to make your book cover truly personal. If you simply want to search for the right photos or graphics, it’s best to use a stock photo website. Many of these only require a small fee or are completely free. After choosing the right high-resolution image, tools such as Photoshop can be used to edit and alter the images to suit a book cover format. If you’re inexperienced with these tools, it may be best to go for simple and striking rather than complicated and cluttered.
Book design doesn’t stop at the front cover. Remember, you have a spine and a back cover to take into consideration. The entire book cover should seamlessly fit together in colour theme and style to create the ideal complete product. When printing, it’s important to bear in mind that your images for print need to be much bigger than the standard screen resolution of computer. If you’re planning to have an image that wraps around the whole cover, the image will have to be well over 1,700 pixels wide. Always ensure that your images start at an incredible high resolution that can be decreased later. Increasing a smaller image will only make the image blurry and unprofessional. If the format of your book cover is in excellent resolution, the book will translate beautifully in terms of marketing. Your book will look striking in PR, magazines, press or everts, helping the cover to stick in the mind of the consumer.
No matter how long you spend imagining, creating and editing your final book cover – if you don’t invest in high-quality printing, you will only be disappointed with the results. Printing your book cover in low-quality will mean the resolution of the images and graphics will be lost. It may also mean that your colour scheme will be a different hue once printed. In order to avoid receiving a product that is far from what you designed or envisaged, you should always leave your book cover in the hands of professional printers. Your book is your personal project and a professional printer will always listen to your needs and specifications when it comes to printing your final product. So, don’t leave it to chance in order to cut costs. Entrust your final product to printers who have the correct equipment and knowledge to deliver excellent results.