On Book Covers: Part 1

So where to begin our discussion of the 5 traits of good book covers? We’ll start off with:

1. Clarity

This concept is pretty simple. How easy is your cover to read?

Readers should be able to determine your title in a fraction of a second. Make it prominent, give it high contrast, and make sure you pick a clear font.

Legible font choice is important. Crazy fonts like many of those found on DaFont can be fun to play around with, but can make your title harder to read.

One of the most common mistakes I see is busy or high-contrast photography that distracts from the title. Don’t use a photo that is so cluttered you can’t read the text, unless you’ve done something like darkening and lowering the contrast of the background photo so the text pops out.

Here’s an example for an imaginary literary fiction that takes place in a casino, which is a very bright and chaotic environment. I offset the high-detail photo by lowering the contrast and brightness of the background to make the white text stand out. 

Try zooming way out or backing away from the screen so you’re viewing the cover at a very small size. Is the title still readable?

You also want your name to be legible but less prominent than the title, of course. The common way to do this is to set it off at the top or bottom of the page in a smaller font.

Bottom line: Make your title readable at a quick glance, even when viewed at a small size.

Tune in tomorrow for our next lesson: Genre!

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