How to Choose Your Book Cover

WRITING UPDATE: SHADOW OF THE WICKED is done. The launch date is the 1st of July. I’m doing a 9 day cover reveal on all my social media pages from the 1ST OF JUNE but my mailing list subscribers will see it first, and receive THE FIRST THREE CHAPTERS, so make sure you sign up below!

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If you didn’t see my last post, I created a Youtube channel. I’ve been pondering on the idea for a while and thought why not do it to celebrate the launch of my debut novella.

Here is my first video.

Make sure you subscribe, follow, and like my pages to keep up to date with the pre-release dates– 1st of June– and the RELEASE DATE – 1st OF JULY. There are going to be a lot of GIVEAWAYS, READINGS and Q & A’s.

Make sure you don’t miss out on this event!


How do you choose a book cover for your debut novel?

Your cover is the first introduction to your book, before the hook and before the first word. It swings readers to your book and entices them to discover more about your book. Your cover can grab or hinder the reader.

From what I’ve learnt from this whole self-publishing process, the book cover is your primary book marketing tool.

As you can see above in the youtube video, I’m using my cover to try attract readers. Although getting the cover wasn’t easy. Choosing a photograph or illustration for your book’s cover can obviously be a daunting task. No matter how imaginative writers can be, visual imagination is not always included. For many authors, the fact that an entire novel requires only one picture to illustrate it is a blessing. The problem is that you still need to come up with that one picture — and it needs to be a good one. Because it’s just one picture. One. I used a company, MiblArt and they were fantastic. Which you shall soon see…

The following are a few book cover design tips to help you formulate and execute a concept for your cover’s imagery.

Grab Attention

Because the cover is a visual medium, the first requirement is that it grabs attention. Think of it as a billboard for what is inside. Your book competes with thousands of other books for a reader’s attention, so you want your cover to convey an instant message. Think of Harry Potter Books, more specifically, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It entices the reader with magic and a boy with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead, standing in front of a train platform, 9 3/4. Spoiler alert: all these components of the cover have crucial impact on the plot and the character, Harry Potter.

Convey Genre

As a package (book) wrapper, your cover also tells readers the genre so they know the book meets their reading preference. A reader should know right away that your book is fiction or nonfiction. In addition, they should be able to tell the sub-category, like self-help or romance. The more genre information your cover conveys, the easier it is for a reader to identify your book as something that may appeal to their taste. For example: Twilight by Stephanie Myers. The Twilight book cover depicts a dark tone with ghost-white arms holding a brightly colored red apple. It immediately suggests the forbidden fruit–love and lust.

Author Brand

Readers want to know you care. The details of your cover send a message about you as an author. Even if you are making the cover for your first book, you want to convey a message about you as an author. Can you write a book that is worth reading?

Making the book cover identifiably yours marks your book in the reader’s mind. When you write that next book and the cover is similar, you’re building your author brand and your core readership.

Reviews and Recommendations

A book cover that engages readers to read your book filled with a great story or wise tips ultimately leads to reviews and recommendations. Posted reviews about your book help spread the word and build your fan-base. Positive reviews provide validation for potential readers to buy your book.

The reviews feed vital information to algorithms on online distributors like Amazon. The algorithms count the positive reviews as a validation of the value of your book. The more positive reviews for your book, the more likely the algorithm will display your book to other readers.

Keep It Simple but Eye-Catching

The front of your book is a dynamic marketing tool. Make it stand out visually with a striking image that suits your genre. Use an easy-to-read typeface with text placed to lead the reader from top to bottom.

An investment in cover design will pay dividends in giving your book the attention it deserves. An experienced, professional designer has the tools, images, and typefaces at their fingertips to get your book marketing off to the best start possible with a dynamic cover.


If you like what you read, if you have any questions or ideas, make sure you post your comments below. If you think someone has an interesting point of view, a question or an answer, please invite them or share this post with them.


#DouglasWTSmith #socialmedia

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