Top Five Ways to Have an Awful Book Cover

BAD BOOK LARGEI’m constantly looking at book covers as part of my “job” here at Indies Unlimited. On top of that, I run into authors posting their covers in groups all the time, asking for input. So I see a LOT of covers. And most of them all have the same issues.

What I find most ironic is that the same people keep posting book covers with the same problems. I don’t get that. Please allow me to make something perfectly clear. And I’m not just making this up to be difficult or bossy or right. I’m speaking from experience. I used to provide my own cover art to my small Indie publisher – and because of that, I’ve taken some lumps. But I’ve also learned some important things about book covers. I share this knowledge freely, to help my fellow Indie authors. Book covers are important. We all want to make a good first impression. Book sales count on it. Continue reading “Top Five Ways to Have an Awful Book Cover”

What I Learned as a Book Cover Contest Judge

really bad book cover artAmong my favorite internet acronyms is AFLE. Translated loosely, the letters stand for another freaking learning experience. (Indies Unlimited is a safe-for-work site, okay?) I don’t know about you, but for me, that acronym perfectly sums up this whole indie author thing. No matter what your background, there’s going to be some component of this jack-of-all-trades business in which you’re going to need a crash course. Or professional help.

Art is one of those things for me. In school, I was an A or B student in everything but art. (Well, and physical education. But so far, nobody’s expected me to do pushups for my books, thank goodness.) So imagine my dismay when I realized I was going to have to design covers for my books. Luckily, I have a couple of friends who are much better in graphic arts than I am, as well as two daughters who know their way around Photoshop. I treasure their advice to this day. Continue reading “What I Learned as a Book Cover Contest Judge”

Basic Elements of Digital Book Cover Design

book cover examplesby K. S. Brooks & Stephen Hise.

The books that appear in features on Indies Unlimited have been through a comprehensive vetting process, a portion of which considers the book cover. In many cases, the individual elements of the cover design do not work together to convey a professional representation of the book’s content. Sometimes, this means that someone took a photograph the equivalent of a “snapshot” and inserted some plain text on top of it. This can result in a homemade look which, to readers, may scream “amateur.” While the self-published stigma is fading, indies still have to work hard to put out a good quality product. And the cover is a big part of that. The reader will keep going if the cover is anything less than catchy and professional.

We understand that many indies do not have the funds to spend on a professionally-designed book cover. At Indies Unlimited, we try to give authors the tools to do these kinds of things themselves. We’ve published a number of posts on the importance of a good book cover and even provide a resource page with tips and tools on how to design a book cover.

This article details the specific elements we take into consideration when evaluating book covers. Of course, each cover is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. But don’t take our word for any of these. Take a peek at this page filled with sample book covers and see the difference for yourself. Continue reading “Basic Elements of Digital Book Cover Design”

Title Envy

hidden title 120x177Author, oh author, why is your title so tiny? Don’t you want your book to have a big title, like the other books do? I know you do. And I know you know that size matters.

Then why, oh why, are you not using the space on your book’s cover to better display your title? What, exactly, are you trying to accomplish?

This perplexes me. This drives me up the wall. This makes me want to scream.

When you post a book to Thrifty Thursday or Print Book Party, do you just leave? Do you not come back to see your spiffy book cover looking all happy on our pages? Because if you did – you might see that no one can read your title.

The majority of what I’m seeing lately looks like this: Continue reading “Title Envy”