One thing many self-published people get so wrong is the cover of the book. There are many ways to get it wrong and also many ways to get it right. Thanks to a little fairy I have some examples to discuss with you.
Here is the original. It’s a lovely cover, very arty but what does it tell you about the story? If the story was about a fish and a card game then it could work but the description I made up is more of a fantasy adventure. Wrong, wrong and again wrong. Take a look at the story and choose an exciting part that’s the crux of the story then design the cover around the crux. If there’s a bomb on the train then a picture of the train showing the bomb would be good. If it’s a romance and the whole story hinges on the beauty of the female or the body of the male then putting one or the other or even both on the cover are ideal. If it’s a fantasy and the story revolves around some magic wielding wizard then put him or her on the front cover and show him (or her) using magic.
Here’s the next one. There’s a faint possibility you’ve noticed the change in font, it’s not a big change but it is a beautiful font. I’ve seen some lovely fonts out there but in a small point size they are virtually unreadable. Some of them are designed to be very big on posters and when you make them small for a book cover you just can’t read them. This one is just lovely, actually it’s too lovely and it’s starting to become challenging to read. There are so many plain and serviceable but really lovely fonts out there, choose something readable.
I really like this one. Somehow the fairy has managed to get a nice circle around the class so you can still see it. The background is way too dark and I guarantee my designer really didn’t want to do this as it’s next to impossible to read anything…that’s the point. Some books get the contrast so badly wrong that reading the text is a challenge to almost any eye. There is the name of the ‘author’ there, she only changed the background but can you find it?
This next one has a similar problem except she’s changed the colour of the font to be pale to match the light background. It’s just a blur to me.
I don’t have an example for you but if your book title is more than one word then be sure to make each word readable. If you have one word cross the other then that makes reading challenging. Whatever you do you want to everything to be legible, readable and make it possible for the reader to easily identify something exciting in your book.
At this point I’d like to thank Chuck from Notions Unlimited for letting me listen to his rant on covers, it was illuminating.