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Rules for Book Covers

Covers -You Gotta Love them

Diana here:

Face it, the old adage a picture is worth a thousand words is true. So does your cover, or if it doesn't, it should.

If you’re in charge of your writing career knowing what makes a good cover is important.

I’m not a graphic designer, but I can use Canva.com to achieve a simple cover. With photoshop elements to come up with something that looks okay. Or, can I?

I thought I could. I’m able to put together digital scrapbooks without much trouble. Then I realized to make a cover look amazing you need to know how to blend two or three photos together, so they look like one. There are drop shadows, filters, and trying to remove the background from a model’s hair, so it looks amazing in the photo.

girl in the photo from graphic stock

I failed at this one. I spent many hours trying to get the background out of this photo.

Fortunately, Tandem Services took my ideas and produced this great cover. Notice they flipped the model? I wouldn’t have thought it would make a difference. That’s because I think like a writer, not a graphic designer.

And then there’s the font.


Font—should be easy but it’s not. Some fonts look much better on a historical than a contemporary, or what about fantasy, science fiction, and non-fiction. And there are thousands of free and even more you can buy to get the right look for your genre.

Since I’m not a graphic designer, I’ll let Jennifer tell you more about design next week.

Here are a few rules everyone needs to know when it comes to a good cover.

Does it look good in black and white? Why? Because Kindle Paperwhites are grayscale (black and white for non-graphic artists) and you want your cover to sparkle on that device, especially if you do an ad with Amazon.

If you make the cover small (the size you see on the screen at the online booksellers) can you read the title and authors name?

When it’s small, is it a miniature cover, or do you have to put your nose on the screen to figure out what’s on the cover?

Print it out, stick it on a cabinet or wall, walk away about 15 feet. Can you read it?

Is the cover a rainbow of colors? It’s best to stick with 3 main colors, including the font color.

Do the colors reflect the genre of the book? You wouldn’t want a childlike painting on the cover of a thriller. Romance should have a softness about it, whereas mysteries and crime might be hard-edged and dark or gray.

Is this book part of a series? Then the covers should look similar in tone. 

Start with these ideas when making or choosing a cover. Come back next week for more about covers with Jen.

Tweet this: Make your book covers stand out


  1. These are great tips! Blending photographs is a quick giveaway on how professional the cover looks, and not a skill I possess either. :)

    1. Hi Carrie, glad you liked the tips. Make sure you come back the next few weeks because people who know more than me will be writing on the blog. :) Yeah, blending and feathering oh my!

  2. This post a so wonderful and very useful photographs,thank you so much for sharing.