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5 ways to make your book cover a success

5 ways to make your book cover a success

You’ve written a great book, now you want to make sure it attracts the attention of potential readers. A good book cover can help you do just that. 99designs explains the impact a well-designed cover can have on your book’s success as well as the five most important things you should keep in mind when creating a cover to achieve the best results.

Can cover design make a difference?

There is no doubt that your book cover plays a role in making your book successful. But is this effect actually measurable? We ran an experiment with book covers from 99designs and it showed exactly how much the right design matters.

We found four authors and offered them free book cover redesigns to test whether a professionally designed cover actually made a difference for their books. Our book design experts helped the authors select a new cover design. We then created two ads with the same written copy, same title, and same target audience – the only difference being the cover image – and ran A/B tests to see which version of each ad got more clicks on Facebook.

The results were even more striking than we expected: The new, redesigned book covers generated an average of 51% more clicks than the originals. Overall, every single one of the books tested performed better with a new, professionally designed cover. With the new covers the click-through rate improved between 6% and 122%.

5 tips for a cover that will set you up for success

To reap the results of a good book cover, what should your cover look like? A strong book cover draws readers in and makes them what to find out more. These are the five things to have in mind when creating a cover to guarantee that your book will attract the right readers.

1. Let your readers know the genre

Think about what genre your book falls into and what a cover in your genre typically looks like. Each genre has specific traits that can be visualised in the cover design to let your readers know what type of story they can expect. Chances are that your potential readers like your genre and when they are looking for a new read, your cover will give them a hint that your book is part of a genre they enjoy.

2. Set a tone

The tone your cover should reflect depends on your style of writing and the type of book you created. Use the atmosphere of your story as a guideline and replicate it in your cover to set a tone for your readers right from the start.

3. Hint at the plot

Your cover should offer just enough information about the story to create intrigue. Be sure to remain vague and keep the meaning unclear, to make your reader wonder what your cover is all about.

4. Use the correct colours and typography

The right colour palette and fonts have a huge impact on the way your book appears on the shelf or online and can make or break a cover. The right colours and typography not only play a major part in communicating your genre and setting the tone, but they also ensure that your cover is visually appealing, has the right amount of contrast and is easily legible.

5. Create a distinct visual style

You know what your audience is expecting and have an idea of what typical books in your genre look like. But now you want to take a step back and make sure that your cover is different and individual, so that your book can stand out from the crowd. This means you will have to find the right balance between familiar and different. Make sure to avoid the clichés of your genre and find you own style that readers will recognize.

Your book cover can be the key to your success. Since your book cover is the first thing your readers see – especially if they’re browsing for books online – your cover should give them the impulse to pick it up and find out more about it. This way your book will get the attention it deserves.

About The Author

Antonia Zimmerlich is content manager at 99designs in Berlin. 99designs is the world’s biggest on-demand platform for graphic design, connecting freelance designers worldwide with people looking for outstanding design. Authors looking for the perfect book cover can simply describe their vision and receive dozens of professional and individual design propositions to choose from.

Video Update!

From the editor…

As of the end of May, my time as the editor of the Self-Publishing Magazine is coming to an end. Thank you all for getting in touch over the last year. I’ve loved hearing from so many of you and it’s been fantastic to be able to share such high quality submissions from indie authors and other industry professionals.

I’m very excited to announce my replacement, Jasmin Elliott. She has a sound background in book marketing (having worked with both local and national media, marketing Matador books for over three years). As well as this, she has already contributed articles for the site and devised some of our editorial concepts, including our first ever ‘Author Life’ feature, which proved very popular.


Jasmin has so many exciting ideas lined up for the site in the coming months; we wish her all the very best with this. Keep checking in to see all of the changes, and join us on social media to wish her luck!

Wishing you luck with your self-publishing projects.


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