How to Design a Book Cover For Self-Publishing

Jason Moser

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In your quest to self-publish your novel or short story, you may run into a little trouble with how to design a book cover. There are several ways to make an attractive cover for your book, but most writers fail in this particular area because they can't afford the photo editing software or don't trust their artistic abilities enough to do the work themselves. Making a book cover graphic is a simple process that anyone can do with a little guidance and effort.

You do have an artistic ability as a writer; it's mostly with words, but this artistic ability can also be manipulated toward graphic design. Your goal with self-publishing is to do so in a way that is most cost effective for you and at the same time look professional enough to make the sale. If you learn how to make your own book cover, you will greatly reduce the cost to produce your novel or short story.

Creating a book cover isn't as hard as it seems. The first thing you should do is gather ideas at your local bookstore; look at several new stories in your genre and compare styles, formats, graphics, and layouts. One thing you will find in common with almost every book out there is that they have a title and author's name on the cover. Your main focus will be on the book's title; this is what captures the reader's attention and makes them want to pull your book off the shelf.

The title of a book gives a basic description of what your book is about. It should fascinate your reader to the point they have to pick it up. Your title is a simple word or phrase that represents the primary focus of your book. Overall, what is your book about in five words or less? To choose a proper title, brainstorm the content of your book and create a word or phrase that sums up everything for your reader. Your title is the book's first impression, so this is a crucial stage when you design a book cover.

Once you have a satisfactory title for your book, open your word processing program or photo editing software and type it out along with your byline. Play around with different fonts and font sizes as well as locations on the page. You are looking for a layout that will automatically make your potential readers focus on your title. Don't use plain fonts; try to use a font that fits the era or time frame of your story. Make it a legible font that will give your reader a good feel about your book, but at the same time subconsciously tells them a little bit about your book. When playing around with your font types and sizes, ensure you make the byline smaller than the title as to not distract from your primary focal point.

Now think of a color that corresponds with your book's theme. A books theme is the main picture people get when they read your book. Examples of themes are love equals red and death equals black. Each theme should have a corresponding color. The theme color you choose will be your background color for your cover.

If you have some creativity in you, and I know you do, try to choose a particular scene in your book that has a corresponding picture (a barroom, a mountain, a river. . . ) that you can use to design a book cover background instead of just a plain color. Pictures tend to give your reader an image of a scene within your book so when they do read it, they can get a better picture in their mind about what's going on around them. Don't choose a picture that will distract all attention away from your title.

After you have a title, font, and background, choose a complimentary color for the title and byline font of your book. Making your title and byline stand out from your background is a key ingredient of designing your own book cover. Play around with different color harmonies to see what presents the best mood as you look at it. If it looks good, you're done. Have others look at it as well to give you constructive feedback to make it even better.

Learning how to design a book cover can take a little time and effort on your part, but will ultimately pay off when you present your book to the world. You don't have to be a full-fledged artist to make this work; all you need is a little creativity to effectively create a great book cover.

Jason Moser is a self-published author and web developer. For more information related to this topic or how to write and publish fiction, visit .


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