How to Design Your Own Book Cover

They say “don’t judge a book by its cover.” But as anybody in the publishing industry can tell you, books are judged by their covers all the time.

The good news about the rise of Ebooks is that authorship has never been more accessible. Every year countless people finally achieve their dreams of publishing a novel.

The bad news is that publishing is more competitive than ever. And people don’t need an excuse to scroll over the self-published novel you’ve been working on for the past five years on Amazon when there are three more of those in the next row.

Your book’s cover is the first thing your reader sees. If you want to be read, make your book look like it’s worth opening.


But Ebooks Don’t Need Covers!

Yes, they do.

Most websites that sell Ebooks follow Amazon’s model. That means the first thing your customer sees is a small square featuring the cover of your Ebook. Under that, in whatever font the website uses, your book’s title will be written.

Can you imagine anything more generic than simply seeing that text without a picture?

To a potential reader, it may be beyond generic and venture into the realm of the insulting. After all, who are you to suggest that they take time out of their day to read a book you didn’t care enough about to make a cover for.

You aren’t the Beatles. You can’t coast by on your name, and no title is witty enough to make people want to click on a book without a cover.

So if we’ve won you over in the battle to give your book a cover (and we really hope we have,) the next thing we need to do is make sure your cover is good. 

After all, if you’re going to make one, you should do it right.

Young female designer using graphics tablet while working

Young female designer using graphics tablet while working with computer

What Makes a Good Ebook Cover?

What makes a good cover in print is different than online.

Ebook covers are sold online and often displayed in a grid. Small or poorly placed text will be lost to the reader. Focus on making your cover text bold, large, and prominently placed.

Avoiding fancy fonts will also make your Ebook’s cover more readable. Remember that no matter how much you like fancy-handwritten cursive font, your reader will be left wondering why they should click on the square with all the squiggles.

The cover design is another important element. In general, it’s best to stick with clear and minimalist cover designs. Remember that on Amazon your potential reader is looking at a tiny rectangle, not a full sized cover. They can’t see all of the action you want to put on your cover.

The most important thing to remember about your Ebook is that it doesn’t have a spine. Print books can have great aesthetics which wrap around the entire physical book: good Ebook designs thrive within confined space.

Because there are no spines on the cover of an Ebook, the best way to create the depth of design that exists in a physical book is by playing with textures with the book’s cover. Look at the cover of Adam Mitzner’s “Dead Certain” on Amazon.

Notice how the torn page and slight off-centeredness of the text creates a depth, with each side of the page existing in a fundamentally different dimension of space.

Despite being fractured, the title text and author’s name remain readable due to a prominent font. That font’s blood red color both reflects urgency and allows it to contrast with the black-and-white newspaper background of the book cover.

What this shows is that a successful book cover achieves a synthesis of chaos and organization. Make sure that your book’s cover is readable, but don’t mistake that with a book cover that is boring and flat.

Why Not Buy an Ebook Cover?

Hiring a designer for your cover may seem like a great idea, given the complexities of Ebook cover design. But that would be a mistake.

Ebook cover designers charge expensive rates: some freelancers charge up to $40 an hour for work! Shouldn’t you save that money for after your book sells?

The other thing to consider is if you hire somebody to work on your cover, you don’t know what you’re getting in terms of quality. Best case scenario, you end up with a beautiful and inspiring cover that brings in new eyes, clicks, and buys.

Worst case scenario, you end up with one of these.

Don’t spend $40 an hour on a dud.

Instead of winding up with the cover to How to Deal With a Hippo Encounter, take matters into your own hands and design your own Ebook cover.

Another benefit to designing your own Ebook cover is that it looks great on a portfolio. Let’s face it: most people don’t become full-time self-published authors with their first Ebook.

If you’re running a freelancing business on the side, Ebook cover design is a great way to, like we mentioned above, earn up to $40 an hour.

How Do I Make One?

You don’t need to be a great artist to design a book cover anymore. 

Book cover designers used to spend hours at a desk with a pen, pencil, paper, and ink. Today, technology has made it so you can design your Ebook easily using software.

There are quite a few options on the market. Our favorite is the Ebook cover creator. It’s easy to use, let’s you customize your design template based on genre, offers clip art for those who can’t find their own picture, and offers endless options for customizability in a user-friendly package.

Congratulations on publishing your Ebook. Have fun designing your cover, and remember to keep writing!


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