There’s something incredibly satisfying about typing ‘The End’ when you complete your book. All that research, writing and hard-work is finally about to pay off. It’s time to get your novel in the hands of your readers! However, now that the writing is complete, it’s time to start thinking about the cover because let’s face it, we all judge a book by its cover.

Almost 80% of readers admit that book covers play a decisive role in their purchase decision and there is a seemingly endless list of factors to consider. What designs do readers in your genre find appealing? How can you make your book stand out? Is it target market age and gender appropriate? Will the design be visible in thumbnail form? Are the title and author name clearly visible? A good cover is an essential part of building a solid following while a poor one will lose countless readers. Here are our top book cover tips to ensure that your novel is the first to catch the reader’s eye.

1.   Less is More

Back in the day book covers were a busy place. The cover of old novels typically depicted a scene pulled straight from the book, the protagonist up against the antagonist, a setting, a series of characters…you get the idea. In contrast, modern novel covers are clean and uncluttered. Create some intrigue and make your readers think. What do you want them to focus on? Is there one element that conveys the feel of your book? For her latest book The Animal Under the Fur E.J Mellow opted for a textured fur background that immediately captures the reader’s attention without giving anything away. The same goes for typography; don’t get overly complicated or fancy. Stylistic is good. Complicated is not.

2.   Tone & Mood

Genre of your book is important. A horror novel needs a horror cover. A romance novel needs a romance novel. Straight-forward, right? More important however, is tone and mood. Think about the tone of your book. Now, think of a color. Think of a text. Imagery. Keep going with this impromptu brainstorm until the cover of your novel starts to take shape. The cover should reflect your novel’s genre and target audience. Give your reader a glimpse into the pages of your novel and wet their appetite. Take a look at the covers of some famous novels in the same genre. Where does your eye go to first? How unique is the style? The colors? The font? Take inspiration from your favorites.

3.   Tagline & Blurb

Okay, so you’ve got their attention with a clever design and intriguing imagery. Now, you need an equally clever tagline to evoke emotion, excitement and of course, intrigue. As with the design of your cover, simplicity is key. Get to the big question of your novel. What is the main character trying to achieve or overcome? Don’t forget to use the back cover and get creative with your blurb, but don’t overdo it. Draw in the reader with a mysterious plot or captivating character, but don’t give too much away.

4.   Hire a Professional

Last, but certainly not least, hire a professional. Let’s stress this point again, shall we? If you are not a trained highly-trained graphic designer, hire a professional. There’s nothing worse than a poorly designed book cover. Well, except maybe a poorly written book, but that’s another article for another time. Gather some examples and put together a mock cover if you’d like, so your designer will know exactly what you’d like. Chat with them regularly and be sure to ask if they charge extra for revisions. You want your cover to be perfect, so be picky. If it’s not exactly right the first time, don’t be shy. Ask for a change. At the end of the day, with all the hard work you put into your novel, you want a cover that you are proud of and one that readers love.