Amazon says you can't go nude!

How to design your ebook cover

Following on my from my last blog - Colours for your Book Cover - I am now going to talk about design tips.

Remember, your cover needs to jump off the screen and sum up your story at a glance!

Person or object?

Amazon advises that having a person on your cover is more appealing to buyers. I agree, yet I have a problem...

When my debut, ‘Face to Face’ was published by Hodder & Stoughton, I was dismayed. My heroine, Peri, was meant to be one of the most beautiful women in the world, yet the girl on the cover was quite ordinary. From that moment on, I decided I wanted my readers to IMAGINE the heroine for themselves.

So, when I published my first indie novel, ‘Wild Life’, all you could see of my heroine was her feet! This was a difficult cover to create and I left it to a designer to come up with the cover art work. He did a great job, but does it work effectively as a thumb-print?

Each cover is a learning process for me. My forthcoming novel, ‘The Double’, I designed myself. It simply shows two women, faces obscured by sunglasses. No background. No detail. Vibrant colours.

Do you leave your cover solely in the hands of a professional designer?

Yes and no. Most book designers don’t have time to read a whole book before creating a cover. You can give him/her a rough idea, sure, but the bottom line is: YOU know what image is going to capture your story. I suggest you do a little homework for yourself before handing your ideas over to a professional designer.

Trawl through sites to get ideas: Shutterstock, istock, Getty Images. They provide images that are affordable. Do you want a retro, pin-up look? Modern? Grainy? Cartoon? Photo?

Take your time. Throw together some rough images. Play with colour combinations. Do you want an exact shade of yellow? Then go to www.paletton.com.

When you have a rough image, put it up on Facebook for your friends to give their opinion.

Don’t leave your cover design totally to a designer. It’s fun to do some of it yourself. And then let the designer make it look professional.

"The Poughkeepsie Begins" is a wonderfully strong image. It would make a great poster.

The Big Picture

You are going to write more than one book (I hope!) so think about your next four or five books all lined up on a web page. Pre-plan your colours. Will all your book covers complement one another?

Trademark

Keep the same font on each book. So, at a glance, a reader will immediately identify it’s you. Or put the same coloured banner across the cover each time.

Blurb

Good blurb sells books but, as an ebook author, you don’t really have that luxury because when it's shown in a thumb-print size, the words lose visibility.

Reviews

A fantastic review is way more important that blurb. If, for instance, you get a review from San Francisco Reviews saying: ‘This is the best book I have ever read.’ Then you MUST have the review on your cover. You not only have it on the cover, you have it in capital letters, in flashing neon yellow!

Million Seller!

I hope you sell a million copies. That way, you can have your name way bigger than your title!

Go Bold: Your cover is your first, and often, your only chance to catch the eye of your audience. Your cover must look good and be readable at 120 pixels wide.

And remember, your reader must know at a glance what she is buying. A man with a naked torso promises hot sex. Don't get too carried away, though: if you have him naked, Amazon will pull the plug.

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For my blog next week, I am going to show all the indie book-covers that have that oomph! I would be interested to read your opinions.


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