4 Steps to Creating an Eye-Catching Book Cover

There is a lot of work that goes into writing and publishing a book, and the reality is that every step is important. From writing and editing to formatting and book cover design, and beyond, cutting corners is never a good idea. In this post, we share how to grab your readers’ attention with an eye-catching book cover design in four steps.

What Makes a Good Book Cover?

A lot of work goes into creating a book cover that sells. Below is the process that we use and recommend.

Step #1: Generate a Concept

A good cover concept is the foundation for every great book cover. Cover concepts should be based on the material within your book. We usually brainstorm several concepts and then choose the one that we thinks works best. We do this together and recommend always having at least one other person bounce around ideas with you. If you don’t have a co-author, business partner, or friend/family member to help, Facebook groups are great for this. There are several groups on Facebook for authors where you can pose questions and get great feedback.

Consider Using a Template

If you are having trouble thinking of a concept for your cover, you might consider using a book cover template. We have used templates for two of our book series. They give us a starting point, but we always take them and make them our own. You can check out the templates we use here: http://www.trainingauthors.com/courses/cover-mania/

Step #2: Search for Cover Graphics

Once you know what your cover concept will be, the next step is to find a graphic that will portrait that concept. We use and recommend royalty free images, however, if you are or you know a photographer or illustrator, you may be able to create your own unique, high quality graphics for your cover.

Where to find royalty free images:

Note: If you choose to hire a book cover designer, they may or may not do this step for you.

Step #3: Create Your Cover

You have two main options when it comes to creating your book cover.

Option #1: Do it yourself

Book CoverIt is possible to design your own cover. However, you should do so knowing that a cover that looks like it was designed by an amature will hurt your book sales. That is where the cover templates I mentioned above can come in helpful. You might also want to take the time to research covers in your niche and look at cover critiques.

We use PhotoShop to design all of our book covers. If you are unfamiliar with this program, you can learn more about it here: PS Instant Expert – Learn Photoshop!

If you are creating a cover for a paperback book, you can also download a blank template that is the correct size for your book free from CreateSpace here.

Option #2: Hire a Designer

If you don’t think you have the skills to design your own book cover, you are probably right. In this case, it is best to hire a designer.

You can use a crowdsourcing site such as 99Designs or CrowdSpring, hire a professional, or try something like KillerCovers.

Step #4: Get Feedback

This is important. You should always get feedback on your cover. Ask a few people you know if they like it, what they see first, and what they think it’s about. You might post it in some various Facebook groups to get feedback from other authors – just be aware that authors are honest. You might not like what they have to say.

Another option is to have a cover contest on your blog, ask your current followers to choose between 2 or 3 different cover designs. Readers almost always give amazing feedback. You will also see what’s popular in your niche.

{Optional} Step #5: Make it 3D

Shelley recently took a course that recommended using 3D graphics on your website to grab readers attention. While we don’t recommend using 3D covers on Amazon, they can be a nice touch to the sales page on your website. With that in mind, Shelley purchase eCover Authority last weekend and is working on converting our covers to 3D – and she’s loving it!

You can find out more about it here: http://www.trainingauthors.com/ecoverauthority


Your book cover gives readers their first impression of your book. Take your time to do detailed research, plan an outstanding cover concept that represents your book, create an eye-catching cover, and get feedback. Only then will you have a cover that encourages readers to check out your book.

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  1. Step 4 can be so effective. I’ve done this in the past. Sometimes people clearly like one cover more, but more often they will disagree. What’s most useful is their reasoning for what they like/don’t like, and why. It helps you choose.
    Christie Hartman recently posted…The Many Meanings of “Mutant”My Profile

  2. Andrea Ptak says:

    Graphic Design is my day job—been doing it for 35 years. I am aghast that you recommend crowdsourcing cover design. A skilled cover designer spent years and often a lot of money learning their craft. Please do not denegrate them to the level of some sort of interchangeable, WalMart worker. Ditto for crowdsourcing editors and proofreaders. “You get what you pay for.”

  3. Hi. the point could be made that you get what you pay for, however, there are still some great pre-made designs which still offer a great design for the author and allow them to present a professional cover to their prospective readers. You don’t have to spend a fortune but you can still have a professional design.
    Thanks for a great article,
    Dave @ http://www.jdandj.com

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