5 Tips for Ordering Custom Book Covers

Self-publishing a book can feel like a huge undertaking, and getting assistance from others who have different skill-set is vital. Self-publishing authors who are not also skilled graphic designers should get help from a professional when creating their book cover.

Some companies offer pre-made book covers to their clients, but many authors find that they need something more specific to their book and choose to order custom book covers instead. A custom book cover is made specifically to the author’s specifications.

Problems can arise when a self-publishing author isn’t sure what they need to make their book succeed.

Custom book cover designers need direction. Their job is to make the client happy, but sometimes, if the client doesn’t understand what they need their custom book cover to do, the designer produces a beautiful cover but an inferior marketing tool.

Here are five tips for getting the right cover for your book.

1. Genre Matters

The first thing most readers will notice about a book is the cover. Unfortunately, most books are judged by their cover, and self-publishing authors need to ensure that their cover attracts the right readers.

The cover of a fiction book should clearly show what genre and, when possible, what subgenre a book belongs to. A cozy mystery with a thriller cover won’t attract the right readers. Ideal custom book covers will catch readers’ eyes of that genre and convince them to take a closer look at the book. They might read the description on the dust jacket or flip through the first few pages to see if the book is one they are interested in purchasing.

Self-publishing authors who aren’t sure what custom book covers in their genre should look like can browse through the covers of other books in the same genres to see what is similar.

Non-fiction custom book covers should give the reader clues about the book they pick. What is the topic being covered in the book? What is the book supposed to do for the reader?

a non-fiction book about selling books with images of books on the cover

Self-publishing authors should send their chosen custom book cover designer several examples of covers of books similar to their book. Hence, the designer understands what the author wants and can work to mimic the appropriate font, images, etc.

2. Tone Matters

Like genre, tone matters; a book’s tone is usually represented by colors rather than images on custom book covers. A dark and gritty book will have dark black, red, and green hues. A book that is light and funny will have lighter shades in yellows, pinks, and purples. The custom book covers must indicate the book’s tone otherwise, a reader might pick up the book looking for one thing and be unhappy when their expectations aren’t met.

Self-publishing authors need to explain to their custom book cover designer what colors to use and what overall tone to present on the cover.

3. Don’t Be Too Specific

Too many self-publishing authors think that their covers need to show a picture scene from their book. This isn’t useful. Covers are meant to be a metaphor for what the book holds.

If an author goes for too specific of an image, the reader, who hasn’t read the book, won’t understand it, and won’t feel compelled to pick up the book.

The exception to this rule is when a self-publishing author is doing a print of a collectible book that is meant to be bought by fans of the series. Those fans already know the story and can appreciate a cover that is more on the nose.

4. Title

The title on the cover should be big enough to be easily read. It should work with the cover to show readers what the book is about. The title and cover should complement each other enough that readers can use the two to decide if the book is one they would be interested in. The book title and cover shouldn’t create confusion such as a title like Billy’s Birthday Party with a cover of a helicopter landing on a helipad.

Unless the author has a big following, their name should be smaller than the title of the book as readers will be buying for the genre and tropes of the book rather than the particular author’s style.

5. Ask About Rights

Authors must ensure that the artists and designers they work with know that their image is intended for commercial use. The author should be sure they can use the pictures on the cover for marketing. If a cover is an illustration the designer drew, does the designer own that image, or does the author? Can the author put the image on merchandise?

It is always best for an author to get rights to illustrated images specific to their book, and additional rights may mean higher out-of-pocket costs.

Whether you need custom book covers, interior book design, or digital printing services, InstantPublisher can help with everything you need to print your own book. Visit our website for more information on the vast services we offer.

6 Qualities to Look for in a High-Quality Premade Book Cover

Studies have proven that we do judge books by their covers, and as self-published authors, we must take this seriously. If you have a poorly designed book cover, whether you design it yourself, have it custom-made, or select a premade book cover, it has to be great. Because a book cover that is anything less than great will hurt your book sales.

1 – High Quality Cover Art

The art for your cover should be a dynamic image that properly represents the genre and story you are telling. It shouldn’t look like a stock photo taken from a free photo website, nor should it look like clip art pulled from your word processing application. Spend some time looking at different book covers for best-selling titles in your genre. What types of images do they use? What information do they include on the cover? What color schemes are they using? Use the answers to these questions to help you figure out what type of cover would be ideal for your book.

Graphic artist creating a premade book cover design

2 – Proper Cover Title Font Selections

Font choices on book covers seem like a trivial thing, but they often set the tone for the book. As a self-publishing professional, you need to educate yourself about fonts and how they work both on book covers and the interior layout. Joel Friedlander has a good article on the Top 10 Fonts for Book Covers and Interior Design and another good post from Cover Design Studio about different typefaces and fonts are a good place to start.

3 – Good Cover Text Placement

Even if you select the perfect font for your book cover, there are many other mistakes you can make with placing the text on your cover. Here are a few of them:

  • Text too close to the edges of the cover
  • Title text is too small and hard to read
  • Too much text on the cover – Too much text makes the cover look too busy or even cluttered, especially if you have some nice visual elements on the cover
  • Using more than 3 fonts on the cover – Two contrasting fonts work best. Never use more than 3 different fonts on the book cover.

4 – Making the Author’s Name too Large on the Book Cover

There is a myth out there that self-published authors should make their name on the cover very large in order to convince the book buyer that you are a popular, best-selling writer. This is true if you happen to be Stephen King, Suzanne Collins, or John Grisham, but if you are reading this article, you should not try to fool potential readers by blowing up the size of your name to misrepresent how big of a selling point your name is. The reader will see right through it.

5 – Has a Professional Look and Feel

There are millions of book covers out there, and many successful ones use dramatically different design elements, colors, and styles. Spend some time looking at book covers at a book store or library. Which ones do you like? What draws you to them? Book publishers spend a lot of time and effort designing the perfect book cover for every book they print, so steal their cover design ideas.

6 – Designed by Someone Who Designs Book Covers

If you do not have graphic design experience, it is very hard to learn the skills necessary to design a good-looking book cover. Even with some of the fantastic DIY book cover design tools available, the tools cannot be a substitute for skill and experience. And even if you are a graphic design professional, book cover design uses different stylistic choices that only someone familiar with the publishing industry might understand. If you hire a graphic designer, make sure they have experience designing book covers and that they have some example book covers in their portfolio. There are many high-quality book cover design professionals out there who sell designs at a reasonable price.

InstantPublisher Provides Premade Book Covers and Custom Book Covers

InstantPublisher is your full-service self-publishing book printer that provides a large selection of premade book covers and custom book cover designs. Get more information about these services by calling 1-800-259-2592, filling out our online contact form, or sending an email to questions@instantpublisher.com.