Wondering about ebook covers? While a wonderful cover won’t make your book a bestseller, a horrible cover destroys sales.
There’s one basic rule for ecovers on Amazon: the covers need to look appropriate, and recognizable. Yes, they need to look “good”, but “good” is subjective. If you look at Amazon’s page on creating a catalogue/ cover image, Amazon recommends an image “1563 pixels on the shortest side and 2500 pixels on the longest side” for best quality. Readers should be able to decipher your image at a glance, and your image needs to be appropriate for the book’s genre.
1. Get a Cover Design – if You Can Afford It. If Not, Do This…
It’s wonderful if you can get a professional cover. But if you’re broke, don’t let that stop you publishing your ebook. Get an image from a stock photo library. Canstockphoto is my latest favorite, I also like Dreamstime – there are many image libraries, browse them until you find an appropriate image. You’ll be able to get an image for around $6.
Then use an image editor like PicMonkey to add your text.
If you’ve got a little money, search Google.com for “premade covers”. SelfPubBookCovers.com has some great covers, starting at $69.
Once your ebook starts selling, you can put some of your profits into a professionally designed cover. Ask the artist to give you a blank image as well; so that you can use the blank to create advertising creative.
2. If You’re Writing a Series (You Should), Match Your Covers.
Writing a series? Match the covers. Use similar images, or even the same image, and use the same fonts on all the covers in the series.
3. Be Brave, You CAN Design Your Own Cover.
Like spreading your artistic wings? You can use apps you already have, to create cover images. For example, William King reveals his step by step system for creating covers using PowerPoint:
You can find acceptable cover images in the paid libraries for only a few dollars. You may even recognise them from some of the books you own from big publishing houses. I certainly did, which rather surprised me. The image I use here was 13 credits on Dreamstime… 13 credits costs about $17/£10.50. In any case, go get an image that reflects your book and we’ll be ready to make a start.
I haven’t tried William’s system, but I’ve made a note of it, and I will. One writer makes her cover images in MS Word – you’d never be able to tell. So, use whatever apps you have to create your covers.
4. Check Others’ Books in Your Genre, Especially Traditionally Published Books. Do They Use Photos, or Illustrations?
Check what others in your book’s genre are doing. Humorous novels seem to use illustrations, so if you’ve written a vampire novel with more than a few touches of humor, use an illustrated cover. If you’ve got an artistically inclined friend, he might agree to do a cover for you.
That said, it’s your book, and you can put whatever you like on the cover – remember, with digital publishing, you can change whatever you like, whenever you like.
5. Writing Erotica? Stay Out of the Dungeon.
(Pun intended, above. Sorry, couldn’t resist.) A too-raunchy cover can lead to Amazon to hiding your book. Ever since the great porn cleansing of 2013, erotica authors need to be wary. So watch your covers. No nudity, or similar. Think: sophisticated, and classy.
You need to stay out of Amazon’s adult dungeon:
When a work gets ADULTed, it’s the kiss of death for sales. The works don’t show up in general search and/or are stuck at the end of the list. They don’t appear as suggestions in the “Customers who bought X also bought Y of any books” that are NOT in the dungeon, which, as you know, is an incredibly powerful and accurate tool that leads customers to new authors.
If you fear that one of your books may be in the dungeon, you can check here.
Ideally, you’ll get professionally designed, gorgeous ebook covers. If you can’t afford that, do your best. Remember: you can change anything about your ebooks at any time. Focus on writing a great book; you can and will change your covers over time. Have fun. 🙂
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Updated October 24, 2016
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