Developing a Cover for Your eBook

Books are judged by their covers every day. The evaluation begins the moment your title is listed among competing tomes on an eBook site. Unless yours is a well-known byline with a significant following, the cover is the only thing you have going for you to attract the attention of a shopper. Therefore, it behooves you to make that cover as magnetic as possible. Developing a cover for your eBook is more than just an exercise in design; it’s a tactic for survival.

Here’s what you need to know to do it well.

Design for Maximum Eye Appeal

Before you begin conceptualizing a cover, spend some time looking at the bestselling books in your genre. Go through a number of different eBook sites looking at the books most frequently bought and see if you can determine any commonalities in their cover designs. Basically, before you set about designing one of your own, look around a bit to see what’s selling. Granted, some of those books might be seeing simply because they’re good and their authors have a strong following. But, by and large, they’re selling because their look is appealing.

What Your Book Is About

If you had to reduce the concept of your book down to one sentence, what would that sentence be? Once you’ve answered that question, imagine that sentence as a photograph. That photograph will be the main element of your cover design. Remember, the primary goal is to stimulate interest. So, let your imagination run free. Brainstorm as many different ideas as you can, all around the core theme of the book. Keep your ideal customer in mind, as this is the mind to which you want the cover to appeal. You want the cover to speak to them and lure them into the pages inside.

Size Definitely Matters

As you’re deciding how to sell ebooks on your own website, keep in mind that Amazon recommends a width of more than 2820 pixels. If you’re going with the standard 6×9 proportion, your dimensions will be 3200×4800 pixels. Most top-selling books are 6×9, so you want to fit into this standard to make your book look substantial. As for resolution, go with 300dpi or better. This way you can reduce to a little as 72dpi if the situation requires. In other words, it’s better to go bigger and reduce than it is to go small and try to expand.

Graphic Elements Attract Attention

The two most important graphic elements of a book cover are the title and the image. These are most likely to stop a browser in their tracks and entice them to investigate your book more closely. The title should be large and easy to read, even when it is rendered as a thumbnail. It is almost impossible to overdo this. You might even consider making the title the cover image —if it has enough intrigue behind it. Your font choice should be supportive of the concept and you should stick with a single font for all of the type on the cover. The photograph (or drawing) you choose must be absolutely eye arresting. With that said, you want to avoid being corny and too literal. You want the picture to tickle the imagination, rather than tell the story.

Keep It Simple

After reading all of the above, this might seem contradictory, but in fact with all of the foregoing said, it’s more critical. You have a large title and a bombastic image. With those two in place, you have to make the resulting design as simple as possible so it communicates at a glance. Give a shopper too much to consider and they’ll move on to something less challenging.

Consult a Professional

If this is your first foray into the worlds of photography and graphic design, you’ll be better off working with someone who is experienced to develop a cover for your ebook. After putting in all of the work to produce your project, the last thing you want to do is hamstring it with an amateur cover design.