Designing a Cover for your Romance Novel: What Does a Good Book Cover Need

While writing is considered an art, not all of us writers are artistically minded in terms of design. The artistic aspect is where things can get a little hairy as you prepare your book package for selling on the market. What draws the eye and makes people want to pull down the book from the shelf or click on the book to see more about it? The cover. Now we know the old adage goes that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but too bad—it happens. Before you take the plunge to self-publish your novel, you need to put a face on that manuscript! 

A cover design isn’t everything because there are certainly badly written books luring people in with their beautiful covers, but a great cover design does “get you in the door,” as it were. Yours is no exception. You want to entice your readers and bring them in, get them to give your book a second look. But how? 

In this post, we’ll focus on:

  • Why cover design is important
  • Tips for choosing the correct cover for your book
  • How to get your cover designed: the tools and resources to do it right

Why is Cover Design Important? 

As was mentioned in previous posts, as a self-publisher, you are your own marketer. So you’re in charge of putting your “best foot forward” in displaying your book to customers. Therefore it makes sense that your cover design is hugely important! 

  • Your cover is basically the first thing that people see when they’re perusing either in a bookshop or online. In a matter of seconds it has to pull people in and give them the information they need about your book to make them explore further.
  • Your cover gives you the sales you deserve, captures your usual readers, and maybe even interests readers you didn’t expect! After you snare readers you might not usually get, you want them to want to take a second look.
  • A cover shows your professionalism and seriousness about being an author. Just like dressing nicely for an interview, a cover showcases your ability to function effectively in the professional world of publishing. 
  • A cover makes your readers trust that your book is worth reading. It’s attractive, interesting, shares the appropriate info, and looks professional. That in and of itself will get readers to give your book a chance, at least take a peek inside. 

Tips for Choosing the Correct Cover Design

While having a cover design that draws people in is very important, and attractiveness is an essential quality, your cover design needs to do a few things all at once in order to function as the correct cover for your book. 

Show your genre

It needs to show your genre and fit your genre/tone. You have seconds to get that information across through the title, the images, the font, and the colors. For example, if your book is a lighthearted romance, an ineffective cover would not be a fully black one with a skull and crossbones. Conversely, if you’ve written a wild, dangerous adventure story, your cover would most likely not be covered in flowers using pastel colors. The cover has to be connected to what kind of book you’ve written and what kind of genre it fits in. 

Follow trends

Your cover should fit in in the right way, and it should follow trends yet can have its own unique style. A book is a work of creativity, and you might feel like you also want that creative freedom when designing your cover. While that’s completely acceptable and normal, you don’t want to go too far away from what’s trending. You want to showcase your own style while also fitting into the kinds of cover designs that are selling in your genre. Take a look at the Kindle bestseller list in order to get an idea what kinds of covers are doing well. 

Be simple but comprehensive

Don’t put too much on it. This is a basic design principle. You don’t want to cram too many images or too many words into your cover to make it so busy that it doesn’t attract the eye, nor does it give the necessary information your reader wants to know.  Clear title and subtitle. This is what your reader wants to see. You’ve snagged them with your design, now give them the info about your book. What’s the title, and what’s the subtitle, which can give them even more details? 

Be eye catching

Think about images, colors, and fonts. This is where a professional can be incredibly useful in this regard! Consider someone like HotGhostWriter to help you prepare a beautiful cover design with just the right images, colors, and fonts that will fit your genre and draw the eye. 

Really sell the focal point

Find the focus, zero in on the selling points of your book. Whether it’s the title, subtitle, author name, or image, emphasize in your design what you want your readers to focus on? 

Surprise them a little

Add a teaser. This could be a good idea for romance to “tease” your readers into buying the book by putting a short quote on the cover or a little line about what they might get out of the book. 

The back cover content is important too

Add a quick synopsis, book reviews, and author bio on the back. These are all great things to add to your cover to give your readers all the info they need before they make a decision to buy your book. Praise for other books you’ve written can really help give your book a fighting chance to get read.

Don’t forget the spine! 

In a bookshop, that’s often the only part of the book your readers will see as they look through the shelves! The beauty of online shops is that your readers get to see the full book cover. However, do not neglect the spine for print books! Make it attractive with a clear title to get that first reader to pull your book down from the shelf. 

How to Get Your Cover Designed and Designed Well

If you’re not an artist or graphic designer, it’s best to let the professionals handle the cover design, especially since it’s so important for your sales! You have enough to focus on with the content, the research, the front and back matter, and more. 

Where to go? 

  • If you’re determined to do it yourself, Canva is a designing program that is quick and relatively simple to use. However, there are some costs to get better designs and tools. 
  • For some professional options, you can hire a cover designer on websites like Fiverr or Upwork or Damonza
  • If you’re creating a Kindle book, you can use Amazon’s Cover Creator, but that does require you to upload your chosen images, and so that could still cause some stress if you’re not sure what exactly you want to put on the cover. 
  • Lastly, you can use HotGhostWriter’s a la carte services. What’s great about HGW is that we are a ghostwriting company that offers writing, editing, designing, and formatting services, so we know it all. We understand the world of publishing, and we can help make you the correct cover for your book to get you the most sales!

Extra Resources

Cover design is essential to marketing your book effectively to the right readers. It gets you in the door. If you do it right, you might even get new readers you never expected! You want it to fit your tone, your genre, attract the eye, and look professional all at once. 

Check out these extra resources to get you some great background info on cover design, its importance and how to do it right: 

Some self-publishers work on their cover design themselves, but it’s much easier and you’ll end up with a better product, if you hire out the work to a professional. If that sounds like you, then check out HGW and click on the facebook messenger icon at the bottom of the screen to ask your questions and get started!

Kerilee Nickles

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