5 Book Cover Mistakes to Avoid

5 Book Cover Mistakes to Avoid

So you’re considering whether to make your own cover DIY style, or hire a professional to do it for you. 

Either way, you don’t want to be caught dead making these mistakes. Your cover is the most important part of your book marketing. Everything else will fall apart if you don’t get this right. 

People do judge books by their covers. This is how it should be. If your cover is amateur and unappealing, why would the content inside be worth reading? 

A less than stellar book cover means:

  • No sales
  • No customers
  • No readers
  • No one will share your book with others
  • No point in writing your book

Avoid the following five mistakes when picking a final cover and you’ll be off to the races to garner book sales and find success as a writer. 

1) Avoid Covering Important Elements with Text

Your text needs to fit in with the rest of the cover. If it’s an afterthought, too big, too small, or in the “wrong” place, your cover won’t look good. 

Make sure the text fits and blends well with the other elements you are adding into the cover. Most of the time, you can make the title bigger than the subtitle to save space. 

2) Avoid Undistinctive Images

I’ve seen some of the same unaltered images used for multiple book covers on Amazon. Make sure your book cover is using either A) an original high quality photo you took or B) the stock photo is artfully manipulated to best suit your book cover. 

Need a perfect example of a cover that masters these two elements? Check out this one below:

In this cover, we used an image the author took and edited it in with other stock imagery to work seamlessly with the rest of the cover. 

Stock imagery is the norm in cover design. But don’t just plop a stock photo on top, add the title and author name to the bottom and call it done. You spent hours upon hours getting your manuscript written, give it the cover it deserves! 

3) Avoid Cuss Words or Inappropriate Terms on the Cover

We don’t offer this advice up as a deterrent for your creative energy. Heck, Mark Manson kills it with his books, and he also uses the “f” word on all his covers. 

You aren’t Mark Manson. 

You need to avoid this type of cover (and title) for one reason. Amazon ads. 

Running ads for your book on Amazon is the best way to sell it. Period. You’ll get the biggest bang for your buck and the best ROI. 

The challenge is that Amazon ads are even more particular in which books they allow to use their service. I know, it’s weird that you can publish a book to KDP and then be unable to run ads for it, but it’s true. And it sucks. 

Keep the title and book cover clean so you can utilize this service and get a leg up on the competition. 

4) Avoid Using Fonts That Don’t Match

Make sure your fonts look good together. Some fonts are like water and oil and look terrible when mixed. Make sure you ask for feedback on your design from someone who understands this design element. 

Better yet? Pick one great font you like and use that for the elements on your cover. Will it look perfect? Maybe, maybe not. But it will look better than a comic sans mixed with a wild cursive. 

5) Avoid Busyness

When it comes to making a book cover you might want to add all kinds of “stuff” to it to make it perfect. Don’t do this. 

Sometimes a basic design will outshine all the rest. Check out another cover we did below:

This cover doesn’t have a lot of craziness going on, and yet it performs extremely well in the market. Sometimes the best covers are text based—simple and clean with great contrast. 

We realize this whole process might seem a bit complicated. Well, it is. That’s why we recommend hiring a professional to do it for you OR taking a class to learn design skills (but make sure you get feedback from authors and prospective buyers first!).

In the end, a great book cover sells books, and a bad cover… doesn’t. Good luck with your book marketing!

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