The first thing you notice about a book is its cover. Every book needs one. And not just any cover, but an eye-catching, interest-grabbing cover. A cover that can compete with the best covers on the market. And there are some stunning book covers on the market.
Some readers choose their next book on the cover alone, so it’s a big deal.
How does an author get one of these fantastic covers? They can either commission a designer to create a cover or design it themselves. Either way, there are certain things they need to consider.
Words versus Images
If the title is the eagerly-awaited next story in a popular series, readers will be specifically looking for the title, so it should be big. If not, the artwork will have a more important part to play.
Whether the title is bigger or smaller than the author name usually depends on the level of notoriety the author has achieved.
Images are the most evocative elements of a cover and most books these days have at least one.
This has a big impact on the colours used. Thrillers and horrors usually have dark covers, romances tend to use pastels, and children’s books often have bright colours.
Genre is also important when choosing the image. Thrillers and mysteries are likely to have pictures of things or places, romances usually feature people, horrors of course have something disturbing!
Adult fiction covers often feature photography whilst children’s books are more likely to use illustrations.
Authors can only use images they own, so they either need to be good at photography or art, or be able to pay someone else for the image.
The key themes of the book have to be considered to make sure all the elements of the cover feel right for the story.
Coming up with an awesome cover is hard enough by itself, but when the book is part of a series, there is the added challenge of making it stand out whilst fitting in to an overall look. There are several ways this can be done.
Border or Background
Keeping the border or background the same is a simple way to link covers in a series. Each book has a different picture and colour scheme but the same style of border or background.
This is usually different for each book because it is easier to identify a book quickly by colour than by title, and it’s more interesting to have lots of different colours on your bookshelf.
But colour scheme can still link books together. Colours for books in a series are usually selected from a specific palette, such as brights, darks, jewel tones or pastels.
The image used can vary a lot from one book to another, but it makes sense for the choice of photo, illustration or background that was made for book one to be applied to the whole series.
Generally, the same font style is used across a series. The text colour may change depending on the background or artwork because it’s important the title and cover copy can be easily read.
Using the same case (upper case or sentence case) creates a consistent look and feel across a series.
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