Although most people do not think of it in this way, a book cover design is an advertisement for your book. Just as with a good ad campaign, a cover design should include the proper use of color, shapes, and copy (text) to be successful. To begin to understand how to make your own book cover, we should first look at what a book cover design should be, and what it should not be. Keep in mind the rules can change depending on what type of book it is you have written. This information is specifically designed for books which are to be marketed, and not for books such as family histories, or memoirs meant only for limited distribution.
What Your Book Cover Design Should Not Be
A book cover design should not be a collage of every character, item, or location mentioned in the book. It should not use a specific color only because that color is a personal favorite. It should not consist of a title of more than 5 words.
What it Should Be
A cover design should be a representation of the overall point of the book. It should be interesting. It should consist of a short title (5 words or fewer), and a subtitle only when the title is not descriptive enough. It should be a simple design with careful use of color and imagery to draw the reader in.
How It Works
When meticulously designed, your book cover should convey the overall theme of your book concisely. Studies show prospective buyers will form an opinion of a book in as little as 2 - 3 seconds. If the front cover design is effective, the would-be buyer will then look at the back cover. If the back cover is properly designed, studies show your book will have an 80% chance of being purchased based on the cover design alone. Sometimes a purchase is made without the book even being opened.
What to Consider
Simplicity - Almost all bestselling books have one thing in common; a book cover design based on simplicity. With only a few seconds to make an impression, the cover design must be clear and concise. A busy or confusing cover design will result in your book being overlooked.
Choosing a Title for Your Book
Selecting the proper title for your book can be a challenge. It should properly sum up the point of the book. Your title should be no longer than 5 words (not including words such as and, the, and or) and should only contain words which are commonly used. If you are having difficulty describing your book in five words or fewer, a subtitle may be used.