Make a Standout Impression With Your Book Cover!

27 Feb, 2017 Book Writing

What makes a great first impression?

For me, it’s a feeling of connection. When I meet a new person and strike up a conversation, I’m always left with a greater first impression, when we instantly click.

That moment of connection or “click,” is different for everyone. The same goes for your book cover.

Inevitably, your book will target a certain type of reader; in the same vein, your book won’t be for everyone — and that’s okay!

Before your reader even flips to the first page, they will see your book cover. In those first few moments, it’s essential to grab their attention and make a standout impression.

So, how is it done? Like I said, I believe the key to a great book cover is connection — specifically a connection with your reader.


A few things to consider, when designing your book cover:

  • What type of book is it: motivational, informative, biographical, fictional, etc.? The content and purpose of your book will greatly impact the readership, and thus the cover art.
  • What sets your book apart? There is something unique about your book, your story. Make it known to your reader, through visual representation. For example, in my book “Busy Being Busy,” I have a playful image of myself, juggling life’s responsibilities, to illustrate my personal connection to the book’s topic — instantly any reader, feeling overwhelmed by “busy-ness” can connect to the image AND my book.
  • Are you self-publishing or working with a traditional publishing house? If you’re self-publishing, the design options are completely up to you; if you’re working with a publishing house, the decision may be out of your hands (more on that later!)

It’s time to design your book cover, and it’s really as simple as four steps.

1. Grab Their Attention!

The average reader will decide on a book in roughly 15-20 seconds. That’s a pretty short window to nab someone’s attention and entice them enough to reach for your book.

When trying to make your book cover stand out, remember the three tips above: what type of book is it, what makes it special and what is your publishing platform.

2. Do Your Research

If you’re an author, chances are you’re also a reader. What stands out to YOU on a book cover? Head to a bookstore or check out popular titles online, to see what the market has to offer.

Filter your results to reflect titles in your genre or niche — if your book is a motivational piece, the cover of a romantic novel won’t be too helpful.

Take note of what elements of a book cover appeal to you, as well as what you’d like to avoid. This is a great starting point in the pre-planning phase of your book cover design.

3. Work with a Designer

Unless you’re truly gifted in graphic design, it may be best to leave the job up to a professional or trusted friend. As we mentioned, your book cover is the most important first impression — now is not the time to skimp on effort or resources.

If you’re self-publishing, you can hire a freelance graphic designer or opt for a company specializing in cover design.

Before going into a design meeting, be sure you’re able to verbalize your vision accurately. Have a practice conversation with a loved one or colleague, to see if your vision is easy to follow and relatable to an outsider.

With your designer, share your notes, sketches and doodles, so they’re able to see your vision, too.

If you’re working with a traditional publishing house, your design freedom may be more limited. Ask your publisher for example of previous cover design so that you can verify the quality and style.

Once a draft is presented to you, offer feedback and adjustments, where you see fit. Never accept the first draft, if it’s not to your liking — there is always middle ground to be found.

4. Consider the Cost

Regardless of the publishing route you take, the cost will be a factor. If you opt for a high-priced designer, make sure you get your money’s worth — don’t settle for less than you expect.

On the other hand, if you hire a starting out freelancer, you’ll likely get what you pay for. Finally, if you’re working with a traditional publishing house, you’re probably not paying any design fees, thus reducing your control over the final product.

Weigh your options and consider which route is best for you, in consideration to cost.

The Most Important Key

Your book is a representation of YOU as an author and person.

Making a first impression with your book cover is one of the most important keys to gaining higher readership!

What is your favorite book cover? Let us know in the comments below!

Image attribution.

Article Name
Make a Standout Impression With Your Book Cover!
Before your reader even flips to the first page, they will see your book cover. In those first few moments, it’s essential to grab their attention and make a standout impression.

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