How to Design a Book Cover That Sells


Readers judge books by covers. The book cover can, effectively, make or break the level of sales. 


Brilliant book covers sell books


Your book cover is the first insight people are gaining of your book. It's what grabs people's interest and makes them intrigued to find out more, if the cover is well executed. Your book cover needs to be so well designed that it makes it hard to ignore. It needs to engage and entertain people straight away. 

Here's how to design a book cover that sells... 


Research your genre

Before you get started, spend some time looking at best-selling book covers in your genre. Consider what works, what doesn’t and what you can learn from this. You may want to stay safe and use typical characteristics, or maybe you’re looking to contradict trends and make a statement. This research will be time well spent and give you a starting point for your own cover.


Find your target audience

Who is your reader and what do they want? It’s crucial that you consider this before settling on a design. Figure out what motivates them and what they need to know from the cover to buy your book. How much will your cover tell them about the story?


Think about your title

A large, strong title will grab reader attention. On screen potential readers will be guided by a thumbnail, and if they can’t read your title, how will they engage with your book? If in doubt, make the title as big as you can get away with for maximum impact and readability.



Across the internet your books listing will usually appear as a thumbnail. Study it closely to ensure the cover is attractive and compelling in a small size. Envisage how it would look in grayscale, on mobile devices and on eReaders. Get rid of anything unnecessary which could make it difficult to read on a small screen.


Use the right font

To sell any product you need strong branding and imagery. Using the right font makes your book stand out and can act as a brand. Pick fonts which complement each other, like a simple serif and sans serif combination. Avoid using multiple fonts as this can appear messy and unattractive to readers.


A book cover is what grabs a potential readers attention


Use strong imagery

Choosing the right images for your cover can be a minefield. Illustration or photograph? Colour or black and white? Any photographs should be original, high quality images taken by a professional. Consider having original artwork created by an illustrator who can interpret your books description to create a meaningful cover. Think carefully about colour combinations and the tone they can set. Bright, colourful covers often denote happiness, where lots of black and red can denote thrillers or crime.


Ask a professional

If in doubt, seek help from a designer. They can help pinpoint what works, select imagery and fonts and pull together the design. You’ve done the hard work writing your manuscript, so don’t be afraid to let someone else take over what is a crucial piece of work.


Making sure you stick to the majority of these generic design tips / rules ensures you will create and design a book cover that sells. It will help you to produce the best and highest quality book cover you can. 


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