The E-Book Cover Provides the First Impression of Your Work
Your e-Book cover is the first link to sales of your book. A cover that works for both an e-Book and a print book is not the same as designing a cover for the printed book alone. Someone browsing through a brick and mortar bookstore can pick up the book, hold it in their hands and turn it around to read the back cover book summary. They can also read the fine print offering such things as those irritating rave reviews for the already famous author, blurbed by authors of the same publishing house.
An experienced e-Book cover designer understands that the cover of your book has a big job to do and only seconds to do it well. Its job is to make an impression, to entice potential buyers to “click” on your book above all other books on an e-Book retailer site. To accomplish this, a cover’s imagery and typography must be:
- Winning, and
- Visually Suitable for Internet Browsing
A Cover Should Draw New Readers to Your E-Book
E-Book browsers—in this case, potential buyers looking for books—glance at the small cover image and decide in a matter of seconds whether to click on the link to learn more about the book or move on to the next e-Book image. Instead of moving from book to book, having spent a few minutes with each one as they might do browsing in a physical bookstore, browsers are moving from image to image.
The browsers are looking for a good book to read, not necessarily your book. They didn’t begin browsing with your book in mind. These browsers are the type of people that you want to attract with your book cover—new people, people you’ve never met, and that have no relation to you—like your mother, father, siblings, extended family and friends who purchased your book and wrote 5-star reviews for it. These browsers are strangers, looking for a compelling book to read. You want to get a new and extended audience for your work if you are going to have any publishing success.
The e-Book cover will not sell your book. It’s only the first impression of your book, which will hopefully compel buyers to go to the sales page. The sales page (like Amazon’s Product Detail Page) will have a description of your book, which must be well-written and compel someone to want to read more.
Just like the back cover copy of a hardcover book, the description must take the buyer to the next step of choosing your book, but that’s another article. The job of the e-Book cover is to get buyers to your sales page, whether it is on your author website, Amazon, or any other e-Book retailer site.
Three Things to Consider for Creating an E-Book Cover Design
So, what makes an eye-catching, winning, visually suitable e-Book cover design? Let’s break it down.
Simply put, the e-Book cover must grab a browser’s attention. The browser must notice the e-Book cover and want to give it a longer look – even if it is only a few seconds longer – and begin to wonder what the book is about.
However, a cover design that stands out and gets noticed is not easily achieved by the self-published author. Not everyone has the eye for it; that’s why many people use skilled designers to create covers, and well they should.
If the biggest job of the e-Book cover is to connect people with your book, for the purpose of selling it, it’s smart to use someone who knows what they are doing in pulling the elements of design together.
Create a combination of typography and imagery that will make browsers choose your book above all the others in the genre.
An interesting cover matched with the book description is what sells me on a book. If either one of those elements doesn’t feel right, doesn’t stir my interest, I’ll keep looking for a book that does. If the cover isn’t compelling, I most likely won’t ever get to the book description.
I love a good mystery novel. Let’s say I’m looking for an e-Book on Amazon with thousands of mysteries from which to choose. I will be most apt to click on a book cover that appeals to the mystery lover in me, and that wins me over from the entire column (or row) of murder mystery images on my computer screen.
It will be the most appealing combination of the typography and imagery that will make me choose your book above all others. An obvious challenge with this is that all readers are different and what appeals to one reader isn’t necessarily going to appeal to another, even if they are all mystery lovers. So how do you select or create a cover that addresses this challenge? The answer is: know your target audience.
Aim your e-Book cover at winning over your target audience. What type of person is most likely to enjoy your book? Male? Female? Both? What age group? Hard-boiled or cozy mystery lovers? Romance lovers? Chances are that having written a certain type of book, you also enjoy reading the same genre. What image would give you the mood and feel you’d look for in a book? For nonfiction books, the e-Book cover has to reflect the differences between related books, giving potential buyers the information they need to make a purchase decision.
- Visually Suitable E-Book Cover Designs
A visually suitable e-Book cover design takes into consideration two factors:
- Clarity and Readability
- Optimum-size specifications
Clarity and Readability
Because e-cover images are so small compared to a physical book, you must consider what the cover will look like when it is reduced to the thumbnail format used by many e-reader sites. Simply put, use:
- Large fonts for the title and author’s name – they both must be easily readable in the thumbnail. I’ve seen some e-Books with the font so small that I couldn’t make out its title; don’t let this happen with your e-Book cover. If you are a new, unknown author, the title of your book should be in a larger font and a more prominent position on the cover than your name is. Well-known authors, whose books sell because readers are looking for another book that author, will have their name more prominent on the cover. Until your name alone draws a large audience, keep a captivating title at the forefront of your cover.
- A well-defined image – an image with a lot of detail, one that is too busy, will not show well in a thumbnail e-cover. Select an image that communicates an emotion, mood, tone, genre or topic, but keep it simple. If the image isn’t simple and clean, viewers won’t be able to discern what’s going on with it and may pass right over it to the next image.
If your cover is unreadable, or the image is indiscernible, a potential buyer will most likely skim right over it to the next e-Book; your chance to engage that person has slipped away, gone, in mere seconds.
You might think that one e-Book cover size fits all, but that’s not necessarily true. I think the environment is getting better, but the size required for Amazon/Kindle may not be the same size required by another e-reader site. This means that a size, which fills the screen perfectly on one site without any extra white space showing on the top, bottom, and sides may not fit as perfectly on another site.
You can find optimum-size specifications by visiting the e-Book retailer sites, and your e-cover image should be sized for each store accordingly. Your e-Book cover designer will most likely have all of the specifications, as well.
That first quick impression of your book is so very important, and you want to give your book cover every chance of looking sharp and doing its job for you! To your success!
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