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Rethink your eBook cover

Rethink your eBook cover

Leslie Ann Akin ,


As a graphic designer who has designed everything from business cards to billboards, it's disappointing to see talented book authors create less than professional, high-impact book covers that truly sell their books in every way, starting with emotional impact.


Content is king for sure, but the face of your book is crucial for the impression of professionalism and credibility. When a cover appears weak or confusing, it doesn't do much for the validity of the author.


Why take shortcuts as you're finalizing your book cover's visual impact? You're preparing to release your heart, your compelling story or advice, and your hard earned knowledge. Make it count in a big way.


Ten points to consider when designing your book cover.


  1. Do the research. Which books do you find yourself drawn to online? Which ones are you selecting, and why? This should give you a clue as to what you're attracted to with regards to color and style, especially when you're exploring your competition online.

  2. Branding your business with an authentic and distinctive essence gives you a competitive edge. Carrying your mark throughout all of your marketing, including your books makes full use of your branding investment and shows your project in a splendid light.

  3. Create an irresistible cover. Settling for over-used and free stock images is a huge misstep. Do you really want to find another ebook for sale with the art you used? That can happen and can make your book appear like a sad boilerplate. Treat your potential readers to a dazzling book cover from the onset of your book launch. Create the perception of confidence for purchasing your book.

  4. Keep it legal. Beware of snagging images online to use on your cover, with the expectation that it's okay. It's not. Using copyrighted art can cause untold amounts of legal heartburn and financial expense running to the thousands, just for starters. Pay for the commercial rights to stock photos or have high-quality custom photos done by a professional and own the rights.

  5. Author's byline. When placing the author's name on the cover, using the words, by—written by—is amateurish. That would be akin to placing the word—phone—before your number on a business card. Do we really need to add unnecessary clutter? Your readers are savvy enough to know that simply using your name states clearly that you're the author, or at least, I hope so.

  6. Carefully select fonts. Google '10 worst fonts' and you will find enlightening lists of fonts you would be wise not to use. They will do nothing for your book cover other than make it look amateurish. For good quality fonts try (check commercial rights) and, offering free commercial licenses; confirm the terms before selling your book with fonts from that site.

  7. Easy to read? Think in terms of being able to read the title clearly. View it on your monitor in thumbnail size. Is there enough contrast? Do the typography and image reflect the character of your subject? Most of all, is the cover easy to read?

  8. Honest feedback. If you decide to create your book cover without professional help, get impartial evaluations and professional feedback before publishing. If your cover is not stellar, your family and friends will not want to hurt your feelings.

  9. DIY Template Art? White space is beautiful and classy. Non-designers often fill the entire cover with images and text. Just because free software available for non-designers to take a stab at creating a book cover, doesn't mean it's in your best interest to do so. If you must indulge, try Just remember that their stock images are vastly overused.

  10. Hire a pro. While you may be an independent author and a wicked-hot one at that, your book cover doesn't have to appear ordinary or home-grown. You can enjoy the benefit of skillful and experienced cover art, on par with major publishing house releases. Your best investment is in hiring a professional graphic designer. In a brick and mortar bookstore, someone who's thumbing through a book is likely halfway to the checkout counter. In our book browsing world online, clicking on a book cover is the equivalent of being halfway to the sale. You probably want your book to be selected over all others. Make your book cover the one that readers select by publishing a dynamic cover.


Leslie Ann Akin, Strategic Brand Specialist, has designed graphics from business cards to billboards since 1989. Leslie Ann is passionate about communication through graphic design. She is a former professional clown, having performed twice at The White House. Leslie Ann also hosted jazz radio programs in the San Fransico Bay area for many years. Her weakness is that she cannot sing a note, although she knows a lot about the music she loves. She enjoys working with her talented team; web developer extraordinaire Kenneth Decauwer and chief curator of Strategic Social Media Branding, Dawn Hartwell. Leslie Ann lives in the charming village of Lake Oswego, Oregon near Portland with her husband and she owns a design studio,




Comments (2)

Darlene's picture

Great advice, Leslie! Thank you. For someone in the process of writing an e-book, I don't think I really considered the importance of the cover, just the title. I will now! And I know who to call when I do, Ms. Akin, the best graphic artist in town and everywhere else. I look forward to working with you and your intuitive professionalism when my book is ready for the cover. Or can I start exxamining my choices before the final edit of the book?

Darlene - Dec 21, 2015 05:30 PM Reply
LakeOswegoGraphics's picture

Sure Darlene, send you ideas and we can collaborate. Looking forward to your ebook.

LakeOswegoGraphics - Dec 21, 2015 05:54 PM Reply

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