5 Tips for a Book Cover that Sells

Your book cover is a vital asset when it comes to conveying credibility, expertise, and quality. You only get one first impression, and it’s made in a matter of seconds.

Multiple studies have found that a professional cover redesign results in anywhere from 6%–122% more clicks online.

When working with your book designer (yes, you need to hire a professional if you’re publishing a book to grow your credibility, impact, or income), the following five tips will help you communicate effectively and ensure a successful process.

1. Focus on Your Audience

Know your target audience and always come back to what will resonate with them when making design decisions.

Because writing a book is such a personally meaningful endeavor, it’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing on what design style you love, instead of remembering to focus first on your target reader and what will connect with them.

2. Research

Do your own research early on. Peruse bookstores and/or Amazon, and keep an eye out for book covers that you’re particularly drawn to (or especially dislike).

Take pictures of them or save links. Make a Pinterest board or collect them however you want, and share them with your book designer. This is tremendously helpful in giving your designer an idea of your style.

Pay special attention to books in your genre that are competitors to your book. You want your book to look like it visually belongs in that category, while still standing apart from the crowd.

3. Visibility

Since readers these days are predominantly shopping online, it’s very important that your cover be aesthetically pleasing at thumbnail size. While there are no hard and fast rules, erring on the side of simplicity is usually a safe bet. There is often a temptation to visually depict multiple themes from the book on the cover—which can lead to a cluttered and less impactful cover. Make sure your cover is appealing and the title is legible when it’s just a couple inches tall.

4. Back Cover

Aside from the book description, it’s ideal to include endorsements on the back cover if you can. I also recommend including your author photo—while it can also go inside the book, it’s more easily visible on the back cover and will help readers feel connected to you. Make sure this is a professional photo. An amateur author photo is worse than no photo. If you are taking the photo yourself, do some research online and do everything possible to make it look professional. Have a friend help—no selfies. Finally, don’t forget to include your website on the back cover so readers can quickly find you.

5. Timelines

Book design, done well, takes longer than most people realize. It’s never too early to start planning for it. You can approach designers any time in the writing process, and sooner can be ideal because many are scheduled out in advance. Having your cover design done early can help you market your book leading up to the launch.

To learn more about preparing for book design and how you can save time and money by avoiding common mistakes, download my free guide at https://skillbitesbookdesign.printedpagestudios.com

Learn more about my work at www.printedpagestudios.com, or reach out on LinkedIn—I’d love to hear from you!

Rachel Valliere is a book designer and the founder of Printed Page Studios. She specializes in helping nonfiction authors grow their impact, income, and authority through collaborative, research-driven design. She has been featured in Forbes and has designed hundreds of books for a wide variety of authors, including Grant Cardone.