Unprofessional book cover design can hinder book sales, true or false? True, experts agree ugly or unprofessional book cover design can make or break book sales from the start. Seventy-five percent of 300 booksellers surveyed, half from independent bookstores and half from chains, agreed that the book cover is prime real estate for promoting a book.
In my review of the BookCoverPro software (If designing your first indie book cover, read my BookCoverPro review here.), I mentioned that BCP cover templates helped me create my first indie cover. But, even the templates could not compensate for my lack of skill and design knowledge.
I made some basic but subtle cover design mistakes that stamped UNPROFESSIONAL on the cover. Which brings me to why I wrote this article, you don’t have to make those same mistakes or read tons of books to find out. Still include practice in your book design development, but here are ten mistakes you don’t have to make:
1. Ignoring title kerning. Kerning is the space between the title letters. Just applying fonts, you might not think to apply kerning to the letters of the title. Yes, it’s a paradox, it will make a subtle but obvious difference in how your book title and overall cover design looks.
2. Disregarding complementary color choices. In my opinion nothing shouts unprofessional louder than poor color choices. For example, pink or red prints poorly on most shades of blue, purple or black. Some colors clash with each other. Using the wrong colors, you could end up with a Sci-Fi vibe instead of giving your business book a professional stamp. It’s worth noting, the BookCoverPro templates or most book cover templates will help you use complementary colors that enhance your message.
3. Using too many different fonts. Choosing more than two fonts on a book cover can make your book look busy and confusing. Actually, I learned this lesson early. Because whenever I used too many fonts, the design would just look WRONG to me. Maybe, you can see that intuitively too. When you are developing your skill, stay with the rules. Use a combination of serif (fonts with the little feet on the letters) and sans serif (straight up and down fonts.)For example, Goudy Old Style and Garamond are serif type fonts. Impact and Helvetica are sans serif fonts.
4. Shouting with script or italic fonts. Script and italic styled fonts are meant to be an accent. If used in a whole phrase or sentence, it usually renders impossible to read. It will shout unprofessional equally loud in the overall design.
5. Illustrating the title or part of a title with a wrong image. Especially, avoid using an image that has little or nothing to do with the content of your book. The image should speak the message. For example, if the title ‘Overcoming the Hard Knocks of Cancer’ and using an image of a football player taking a hit. The football player image speaks sports. The book is about overcoming cancer not sports.
Just haphazardly placing your elements on the cover with no regard to basic good design will not sell your book. It will not speak the message inside your book. It will not tell the story. Worst of all, it will not invite your customers in for the read. Now that you know better, you can avoid the UNPROFESSIONAL stamp by following the tips above. Use your valuable book cover real estate to speak your message and invite your potential buyers in for the read.
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