Tag Archives: The Indie Author Advocate

Don’t Make These 10 Cover Design Mistakes

012

When it comes to designing your own book covers, getting it right matters.

But you can do it on your own.

You don’t have to hire a professional designer.

In this article, you’ll learn the ten basic things you should avoid when creating your own book cover. No big words, no fancy descriptions, what you’ll find here is direct and to the point, so you don’t need a design degree to understand and get started quickly.

LINE ORANGE copy

ONE

When designing your own book cover the last thing you want is for your cover to look like you did it yourself or had a family member do it for you.

It may sound harsh, but too many authors write amazing work only to have it unsuitably represented to the market. They might be great writers but their DIY book covers discourage sales.

TWO

When it comes to graphic design, your own personal preference should not weigh in. It doesn’t matter that purple is your favorite color, it may not go with a cover that’s meant to communicate the overall message of your book, a cover that should generate sales. There is little to no room for subjectivity in graphic design.

Another example of subjectivity is a desire to put a specific scene from your book on the cover. This is a book cover disaster. You will understand the message because you know your book inside and out. A prospective buyer will not understand the context of the scene and will probably overlook the book altogether. If your cover does not clearly communicate its overall message, the chances of getting a reader to buy your book at first glance are lost. Remember, the cover is the first impression that makes the reader dig further and eventually buy.

THREE

That first glance intake should also communicate the genre of your book. If it doesn’t, you’re not sending a clear message.

When a reader is searching through mounds of books for something to read that looks interesting, the genre always plays a role in their choice. If you miscommunicate the genre of your book the chances of it attracting the right readers will mostly slip by.

FOUR

A cover that is too simplistic doesn’t have a great potential to catch a reader’s eye and make them want to dig deeper. Simplicity in design might work for well-known authors, but the chances of that style capturing an audience for a new or upcoming author is not likely.

To see the truth in this you can do your own search in different genres and see what cover styles are selling with mostly unknown authors. The styles you see in that search are typically the styles that are working to help generate sales.

013 copy

FIVE

Swinging to the other end of the spectrum is just as bad if not worse than simplicity. A book cover that is too busy can be viewed as distracting and unworthy of further investigation. With these types of covers, there is just too much going on.

You only have about one second to grab the reader’s attention visually. A cover that is too full of design elements might just come off as if you puked it out, repelling a potential reader.

SIX

One way you can usually tell that a book cover is homemade is through the imagery. Low-quality images are not worth the money you are spending for the license to use them. Most times, higher quality images or photos come at the same cost. Shop around.

When you are searching for digital art or photos to use on your cover, try a different method of searching to find the right images. What keywords are you using, maybe you should try other keywords that are relevant to the theme of your book, and definitely relevant to its genre.

You don’t need to find a ready-made cover that’s just lacking text. The software programs available for graphic design make you capable of much more. You can choose a photo of a model, add them to the appropriate backdrop, and add other simple elements, like flowers or guns, etc.

SEVEN

Purchasing the license to use a photo, vector, or illustration is typically pretty straight forward. But there are certain types of images that are not allowed to be used. You need to know what copyright your images are subject to. Below is a link you should check out to be sure you know the basics of what can’t be used on your cover. You might be surprised.

http://www.digitalmedialicensing.org/specialrelease.shtml

EIGHT

There is such a thing as using too many fonts on your graphic design. Up to three is okay. One specific custom font for the title. One generic, yet custom font for the subtitle, and a custom font that brands your author name. You don’t want to make your author name look too fancy, it should not stand out above the title of your book. You should also use the same font and style for your author name on all of your books unless you are publishing in different genres.

 

014

NINE

Speaking of fonts, a weak hierarchy of the text on your book can miscommunicate your message and confuse potential readers. This hierarchy is not just found in different pieces of text but throughout all of the design elements on your cover.

Hierarchy is a term for what carries visual weight from the heaviest element to the lightest in your design. This hierarchy will dictate the viewer’s eye as they take in what’s to be seen. With their gaze flowing from the heaviest elements to the lightest. This is how they absorb your message, through a “sentence” of visual hierarchy.

TEN

When you think you’ve got a great concept layout, always check to see if the cover is clear in thumbnail size. No matter how great you think your design might be, if it isn’t clearly communicating in thumbnail size, it won’t grab attention on a book sales platform.

LINE ORANGE copy

Communicating what the reader can expect to get out of reading your book is your most important objective in cover design.

If you stick to these ten rules of what not to do in cover design, you will be well on your way to creating a great book cover.

cropped-mmi-header-03.jpg

If you like what you’ve read or if you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

Your feedback matters!

 

Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

01

Wednesdays Visual Writing Promptline orange

Visual writing prompts are an excellent method to spark your creativity. They are a means of exploration into your journey as a writer. Taking part in writing prompts can lead you into depths of writing discovery that may have otherwise eluded you.

Taking twenty minutes to participate in prompts like this on a regular basis can unlock your true potential as a writer.

Good Luck!

line orange

The Challenge

Use this prompt to think outside the box, to go somewhere with your writing that you had never dared go before. See what kind of magic you can work with that brilliant mind of yours.

  • Use this prompt to add a scene to the current book you are writing.
  • Start a short story that you can give away for free to subscribers of your blog.
  • Or just practice your skills.

It’s true that a picture like this can spark ideas you may never have considered!

line orange

Please post a link to your writing in the comments section 🙂

I look forward to reading your writing.

Have Fun!

Enter to Win: Free Book Cover Design May 1st, 2020

MCDD copy

Giving Makes Me Smile 🙂

I am excited to be getting the word out about the upcoming drawing I’ve scheduled for this May 1st, 2020.

I started this drawing as a way of giving back to the Indie Author Community: I consider myself blessed because I get to do what I love within the publishing industry and I just want to pay it forward.

CDc copy

Everyone is welcome to enter for a prize of a free design package that includes: Trade Paperback Cover (front-back-spine) and eBook cover, two 3D Covers, and a Book Teaser.

  • Trade Paperback Cover (front-back-spine) and eBook Cover
  • Two 3D Covers
  • A Book Teaser

Winners also receive an invitation to be interviewed on this blog for their upcoming book release.

All winners will be announced and listed on the ‘Winning Authors’ page along with their new cover design and a link to the book’s point of sale.

line orange

There are no hidden fees!


Enter today! This drawing takes place on May 1st, 2020 and the prizes can be claimed anytime.

line orange

Send me an email telling me a little about yourself and your book to enter.

If your name is drawn as the winner, I’ll contact you via email with the happy news.


Enter To Win Below

Good Luck!

mrg-copy

How to Create a Book Cover Concept

Every author wants the perfect cover for their book.

A cover that will sell copies!

And that’s the frame of mind you need to have when it comes to your book cover design concept.

What is a concept in graphic design?

Although the answer to this question may seem pretty straight forward, it’s not. Your cover design concept is how you show the world what they can expect from your book. What you need is a plan that integrates images, fonts, content, and context. Content is the value your readers will derive from the book. Context is the circumstances of your book, its environment, and its genre.

What won’t sell copies?

There are a lot of things a designer will tell you that you shouldn’t do in concept design. But the three following things will get you by to start.

A scene from your book:

Although it can be seriously tempting to want to use a great scene from your book as the cover design, it will not translate to the viewer. You want to communicate through your design what the reader will get out of the book. Your cover should express your genre and what the book delivers.

Too much information:

You might think that in order to communicate your story to the reader, you will need several different images put together in one busy design. Bad idea! Too much for the eyes and mind to absorb in a flash of a second is distracting. You want to keep it simple.

A lack of cohesion:

Fonts matter. Don’t use common fonts that come with Word. That’s a design no-no. Go get some custom fonts. Use the same font and size for your author name on every book and place your name in the same spot on every book. Don’t use more than three fonts. Make sure the first and second fonts don’t clash. They should be in the same family of fonts. And it goes without question that you shouldn’t use custom fonts that will clash with your genre. If you are working on a series of books, you should follow a common theme and use the same fonts on all of them. Until you’re famous, you may want to steer clear of unique cover designs and instead go with the feel of your genre.

02

Where to start?

The best place to start is on Amazon. Go research books in your genre that are selling and see what the popular cover styles are.

  • What do they have in common?
  • What mood do they convey?
  • Can you clearly discern the genre of the books?
  • What types of fonts are they using?
  • What is the focal point of these designs? (a person, an object, etc.)
  • What is the design layout?
  • What are the color pallets? (notice that no covers will use pure black or pure white)
  • How do the covers make use of light and shadow?
  • What does all of the above tell you about each book?

This might seem like cheating, and no one wants to look like everyone else out there. However, your cover is the first chance you get to sell your book. Your first chance to capture the readers’ attention. If the cover catches their eye and the blurb is good, it’s a sale.

Now get busy!

So, for those just starting out in their publishing careers, go with what’s working for others. Your cover will still maintain its own uniqueness but will be clearly recognizable in its genre.

Make sure your cover has a 1/8-inch bleed.

Don’t buy any images until you are happy with one of your concepts. Just right click on stock photos and save them with the watermark. These will work fine for the concept. Just remember where you found them.

When you’re ready to put together the final designs, purchase your images and fonts. Keep a word file with thumbnails of your images and paste the copyright information below them. You’ll need all that copyright info from your images and fonts to show on the copyright page of your book.

Keep your original images and use copies for designing in case you screw up.

Make sure you save your final design in CYMK so the colors remain true when printed.

CMYK stands for Cyan Magenta Yellow and Black. It is a term most often used in printing as these colors are mixed in the printing process to create the colors of a document. RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue. Both RGB and CMYK are modes for mixing color in graphic design. As a quick reference, the RGB color model is best for digital work, while CMYK is used for print products.

Good luck and have fun!

If you liked this post please leave me a note in the comments below!

Enter to Win: Free Book Cover Design May 1st, 2020

MCDD copy

Giving Makes Me Smile 🙂

I am excited to be getting the word out about the upcoming drawing I’ve scheduled for this May 1st, 2020.

I started this drawing as a way of giving back to the Indie Author Community: I consider myself blessed because I get to do what I love within the publishing industry and I just want to pay it forward.

CDc copy

Everyone is welcome to enter for a prize of a free design package that includes: Trade Paperback Cover (front-back-spine) and eBook cover, two 3D Covers, and a Book Teaser.

  • Trade Paperback Cover (front-back-spine) and eBook Cover
  • Two 3D Covers
  • A Book Teaser

Winners also receive an invitation to be interviewed on this blog for their upcoming book release.

All winners will be announced and listed on the ‘Winning Authors’ page along with their new cover design and a link to the book’s point of sale.

line orange

There are no hidden fees!


Enter today! This drawing takes place on May 1st, 2020 and the prizes can be claimed anytime.

line orange

Send me an email telling me a little about yourself and your book to enter.

If your name is drawn as the winner, I’ll contact you via email with the happy news.


Enter To Win Below

Good Luck!

mrg-copy