So why do we need ebook covers and why are they so important?
It’s simple, it’s the same reason flags, road signs and logos are so important. People are generally far better at absorbing information and context from images than they are from text and also do it far more quickly. Not only that but images are also far more powerful on an emotional level. Not only can we read and understand imagery faster than text or speech but we can process images without consciously thinking about them. For instance if we see a red sign with a skull motif we would instinctively associate that sign with danger without consciously thinking it through.
So with the right imagery on your cover you can quickly communicate an idea that will have also have an emotional impact on your audience but will it sell your book?
No.However, a well-designed book cover will definitely give you more of a chance to quickly communicate what your book is about in a way that will stand out from the competition and on Amazon, for instance, there’s a lot of competition! A single Amazon ebook genre can have 100,000 to 2,000,000 books all jostling for a reader’s attention. Your book cover is crucial to the shopping process and, if it’s badly designed or too much like other books, it’s highly likely that a potential reader will not choose to click through to the book’s page or may not even notice that your book is there.
Readers will judge your book by its cover.
But, what makes a good book cover? It’s simply the right combination of colours, images and typography for the subject matter and genre. A good cover will communicate what the book is about and why a reader should buy it. It does this firstly by using colours that match the mood and subject of the book. A dark gritty thriller novel would use a more dark muted colour palette whereas a comedy might use a brighter palette.
Then using the right image can communicate the most important ideas from your book in an enticing manner. It’s the back bone of any design and can be anything from an illustration to a collage to a photograph but, whatever you use, it must grab your reader’s attention and tell them what your book is about.
Typography is not just about the words on the cover but it’s also a chance to add style and themes to the design by changing the font, size and position of the text. Through this you can create a style and can even communicate ideas like weight, wealth or the time period your book is set in. It’s also worth remembering that an ebook cover must be visible from a thumbnail size upwards.
So how can you get your hands on a good book cover? There are quite a few ways to get a book cover these days one of which is to use a cover creator app. These cover creators work by mixing and matching different cover elements from a pool of images and type layouts. Although most of these cover creators are free, in our opinion, a cover made using this software will never compete with a commissioned cover from a designer with regards to quality. Not only that but you are also likely to see many similar covers as the images and typography can be used again by other authors for their covers.
You can also buy pre-made covers from graphic design companies. Most cost around $90 and they can be of a high quality. However, they will not be unique and are not always of a cohesive design that is relevant to the theme of your book. Commissioning a designer to produce a unique book cover is the most costly option costing from around $150 to $500, however, you will get a unique artwork that will communicate with your audience and stand out from the competition.
So which one should you use?
How you get your cover is up to you. You need to think about your budget, your requirements and do your research on what’s available. If you go for a designer then try and find a designer with the style that you want for your work.
Whatever you do give your ebook cover as much consideration as you gave your book for, without it, as good as your book might be many readers will not even know it’s exists.
Seamus McGuire is the graphic designer for Garden City Ink.