ORAcon2013: Cover Design

The next session from ORAcon2013 dealt with cover design. Two ladies from the Killion Group talked about their business, which involves a lot of cover design, and surprisingly without promoting their own business too much, gave a lot of really great tips about creating a cover. Here are the bullet point notes I took:

  • If you were to go to a professional company, they would most likely ask you the following questions, and it would be a good idea to consider these questions in designing your own cover. These are all potentially a part of what goes into a cover design.
  1. Email? Name? Contact Info?
  2. Book Title? Series Title?
  3. Genre?
  4. Setting?
  5. Label (NYT Bestselling author, Amazon # in a category, etc.)?
  6. Is there a quote you would like to use?
  7. A tagline?
  8. Consider the spine and the back for Print on Demand
  9. What size? 5 x 8? 6 x 9?
  10. Coloring and general appearance of hero/heroine?
  11. What is the feel of the book? Sweet? Inspirational? Action?
  12. What do you as the author envision?
  • Here are some websites where you can find stock photos which are royalty free: Dreamstime, Hot Damn Stock, Shutterstock, Fotolia
  • Decide if you want to buy exclusive rights, which often times cost much more, or if you want to buy stock photos that could be used again for another person’s cover.
  • Color is an important aspect to a book cover. There is an online Color Scheme Designer that can help you make sure your colors aren’t clashing.
  • Typography and Legibility. If your font looks great on a print book but no one can read it on Amazon’s thumbnail version, you’re in trouble. Make sure the title and your name can be read clearly in all formats.
  • Kerning & Tracking. Kerning is the space between letters. Tracking refers to whole words. Here and here and here, you can read more about kerning and tracking. This is an illustration I found here.

  • Type styling and branding. Do you want all of your books to have your name in the same font, styled in the same way to promote your brand? You need to come up with something that is versatile if you write in more than one genre.
  • Serials. If you plan to do serials (episodes, acts, or parts) you need to figure out how to make the covers cohesive. Same cover in different colors?
  • Formatting a cover for ebooks and for print are different. Hire someone if you can’t figure it out or don’t want to spend the time to figure it out. 
  • Createspace and Lightning Source have helps with cover formatting and creation.

This is a great article by Matthew Turner about designing your own book cover.

The Book Designer is a great website for authors in general.

This is a great article specifically on Kindle covers, but the concepts could be used for any cover. It’s from the Humble Nations blog.



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