The design of your book cover is key to the book’s success. When a customer picks up a book, she will immediately start thinking about your title. If the title is interesting and easy to read, the next thing she will do is get more detail about the book on your back cover. Something as small as the size or font of the text could be the difference between a sale or a pass. This is why it is so key to have a professional designed cover that will grab and keep the attention of potential readers.
Before you start to design your cover, first sit down and brainstorm a few details. For one, you must know and understand the target reader before you start creating book cover. If you are not the writer, you should read or at least skim the book to gain a better understanding of who would most enjoy the book.
For your front cover, keep everything as simple as possible. Avoid inserting multiple photos and many different fonts and colors on your front cover as this will distract your reader and your title could get lost in the confusion.
Instead, just add a simple (preferably neutral) background color, one photo (no more than two), your title, and a small line of text for your byline (author name). The title should be either centered on the book or located towards the top of the book to draw attention to it first. The photo can be a backdrop image or a photo placed to the side or bottom of the text.
The main element that you will be working with on your front cover will be your title text. Play with fonts and font sizes until you find the perfect selection that stands out and matches the tone and theme of your book.
Your back cover should be even more simple than your front cover. This is purely for reading—think of it as the very last page of your book. Choose a white or very light background for the back cover and use black text on top. Avoid dark background colors as this makes it more difficult to read. Use the same or a similar font as what you used for your inside book text.
Programs to Use to Design the Cover
Use Adobe Photoshop and InDesign or a similar program to design your book cover. Generally, you will create your background images in Photoshop and then layout the cover in InDesign. This is because Adobe Photoshop allows you to make extensive edits to photos, colors, and other elements that will be inserted into your final cover file. InDesign gives you more flexibility for inserting and editing text on top of your background images. It is also possible to create your book cover design using Photoshop alone, though it will be more difficult to make text edits.
Fred Showker “Book Cover Design Tips & Tricks” DT&G Design
Archive of Book Cover Designs
Resource on How to Design Book Covers That Sell
A Design Resource for Novices