An ebook cover – perhaps wrongly – tells the reader a lot about the pages that follow. A poor cover hints at unprofessional writing and vice versa. So invest a little time working on the cover, even though you’re a writer; after all, you’re not a fashion designer but you still wouldn’t dress your child in rags during her first public outing!
Because of this, you’ll want to spend some time thinking about and working on your cover rather than slapping it together.
An ebook cover essentially consists of four parts: artwork; the title; the byline (i.e. author’s name); and a tag line.
The artwork you use should receive the most consideration. Many potential readers won’t see the words so much as the illustration or picture that graces your front cover. Because of this, your artwork should be dramatic enough and convey something about the book. It’s a lot more complicated than that, of course, so we’ll spend more time discussing the elements of a good illustration for a cover in an upcoming blog entry.
Once you select artwork for the cover, you need to find a spot for the title and the subtitle if you have one. First decide on a font that best represents the feel of book. A romance novel might have an elegant cursive typeface while a science fiction piece might use a futuristic font. The point size is another consideration. The title ought to be the larger than the subtitle and the author’s name but not so large that it covers too much of the artwork and distracts from it. Indeed, where you place the title in relation to the artwork is key. While it can be laid over the artwork, ideally the illustration you use will have white space (or blank space) where the title can appear.
After placing the title and subtitle, the author’s name needs to go on the front cover. While it doesn’t have to match the font used for the title, good design usually requires that it come from the same family of typefaces. One aspect of the author’s name that must absolutely be followed is that it exactly match the name used on the half-title and copyright pages (If I used Robert A. Bignell on the title page of this book, placing R.A. Bignell on the cover would be a no-no.). Finally, you may want to add a promotional line telling who you are (For example, I might use Author of “7 Minutes a Day to Your Bestseller” on this book’s front cover.).
Another element you might add to the title is a tag line about the book. This usually are a four or five words of something nice someone has said about your book (For example, this book might say: “‘The only worthy guide out there.’ – Kyle John Janison, editor”). The person or the source (such as a newspaper or magazine) should be reputable and recognizable, however. More on this later.
There are two parts of a paper book cover that you do not need to design for your ebook. The first is the spine. This is the side of the book that we see when it’s placed in a bookcase. It typically includes the title, author’s name, publisher, and if fiction possibly the genre. The second part is the back cover, which is blurb or synopsis about the book, aimed at getting readers to purchase it, usually tops the page. The ISBN with barcode and price typically appear in the lower right corner. The back cover also might possibly include an author’s bio with photo, publisher and a website to learn more about the author/book series.
My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.