People do judge a book by its cover. Nearly 80 percent of readers stated that covers have a prominent role in their decision to buy a book, making book cover design an important part of getting readers to pick up a book.

Today, with readers shopping for paperback and eBooks online, the first thing they see is the cover.

Cover Design more important than ever when readers click through countless options and offers. A good cover can be the difference between a reader stopping to check out your blurb, or clicking on to the next page without stopping. Getting a reader’s attention with your cover is the first steps in getting someone to read your book.

Think about your book cover as an advertisement. It’s the most widely used piece of advertising you will have and a valuable investment.

Ask yourself these questions when figuring out your book cover:

  • Does your idea represent your story or message?
  • Does it illicit intrigue?
  • Does it stand out from other books in your category?

Discover the five most common mistakes in book cover design and learn how to avoid them.

  1. Too many elements on the cover

is an all too common mistake. It’s common to feel the need to fit multiple elements of your plot on the cover to give it a more descriptive feel. Covers cluttered with too many photos, words, or stylistic elements can misrepresent the key points of your book, confuse and turn off readers.

Big problems with overloading a cover:

  • The reader isn’t going to know which element is most important.
  • As a rule of thumb, one beautiful element that tells part of the story is almost always better than lots of small elements.
  • Also note that your readers see but a thumb-nail image on Amazon

Consider a restrained touch. Too many elements will make your cover look amateurish.

A reader is making split second decisions about which book to buy. At first thought, this cover is confusing and overwhelming. A well-designed cover will draw a reader’s interest right away.

  1. Not a genre fit

This is a big one. Different genres have developed distinct differences in how book covers are designed. If your book cover does not share these stylistic similarities, readers interested in that genre will pass because it doesn’t look like other books they have enjoyed.

  1. Poor or wrong font choices

I remind you once again, it’s all about signaling to readers what your book offers. Your font should be similar to other covers in your genre.

Serif fonts are often used for fantasy covers, and the medieval look fits perfectly with this genre.

Take a look at bestsellers in your genre when choosing a font. You don’t have to use the exact font others are, but use something that is similar enough that readers won’t be thrown by it.

  1. Poor image quality

This is an easy mistake to make if you are new to book cover design.

When you use an image on a cover, be careful if you find you need to enlarge it at any point. Small images will decrease in quality as they are stretched to fill space.

Additionally, be careful if you want to change the dimensions of an image.  Amazon’s recommended cover dimensions (2,560 by 1,600 pixels), and your background image is much wider at 2,560 by 2,600 pixels. Crop the image to get rid of the extra width.

Then, check your final cover against the original background image to make sure things look they way they should. As the author, you will likely get a cover image that is the correct aspect ratio, but be careful when you upload it to your website or use it for other purposes

  1. Poor readability

Today, book covers are displayed by vendors in a number of sizes and formats. Almost always, readers will see your cover at a size much smaller than a physical book cover.

It is vitally important that your cover be legible when it is shrunk down and put in a list of books.

Readers will be drawn to a cover they can easily understand. Test your book cover in a thumbnail. And remember: readers who have trouble seeing small images won’t be able to see small text.


Book cover design is critical to a book’s success, and there is a lot more to consider than you might expect. Keep in mind these mistakes when working on your next cover, and you’ll be more likely to produce an attractive cover that drives sales.

And, after being published, if it’s just not working for you, you can always change the cover.

“Linda has published sixteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish.”