What Makes for a Beautiful Book Cover?

image of the cover of "The Aftershock"

The Aftershock, an inspirational memoir, was written by Kelli Poles and published by Graham Publishing Group.

The simple answer: one that sells your book.

Okay then, what are the things we can do to create a book cover that helps promote and sell your book?  Let’s find out.

Point One: The View from 30,000 Feet.

Your book cover is designed for one purpose only: to get a potential reader to open your book. Then your writing can carry the weight. The cover and the title are so important – yes, the title is part of the cover, and we can never forget that – and both cover and title have to give the reader of sense of your book’s content without saying too much. A book cover and title have to instill enough in the way of intrigue – even if your book is a self-help book or business book – to get the reader’s attention.

Point Two – The View from 10,000 Feet

A book cover designer who doesn’t immerse herself or himself in the content of your book, can’t do the content justice.  Sounds simple, but too often a book designer asks for the premise of the book – “Tell me what it’s about.” – and then jumps in. This shows a lack of commitment.  The guts of the book are where the creative energy of the cover comes from.

Point Three – The View from Two Feet.

This is where the idea of composition and design take shape. This is where the visuals become important.  What does the potential reader see at a glance, from the overall color scheme to the use of font choice. If your book cover designer is using clip art or stock photos, you could be in trouble.

If, on the other hand, your designer demonstrates an understanding of balance and symmetry, this shows promise. Don’t be afraid to ask him or her what software they use. If you don’t hear something equivalent of Photoshop, be concerned.

Point Four – The View from Inside the Reader’s Head

Every beautiful, effective book cover has a specific focal point. Where does the eye go first!  What grabs the potential reader’s attention first and then drives them to explore the rest of the cover.  Here is the hard part: the focal point could be the title or sub-title; it could be a color or a font choice; it could be an image, photo, or drawing.  If what catches the eye proves to be a distraction, then start over.

Point Five: The View Inside Your Head.

Your book cover must be intentional. It has to be well thought-out from a design standpoint.  Generally, simple is better.  Trust your instincts, but get feedback. When all is said and done, you want to be proud of your cover.  You want to be excited to hand your book to a friend, family member, or complete stranger and feel complete satisfaction.

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