Book cover design is probably the single most important thing in getting someone to pick up any novel … other than word of mouth. Despite the saying, everyone does judge a book by its cover. The cover should elicit a subconscious response in the viewer. With so many books and novels to choose from, something about the design needs to stand out to the potential reader.  Whether it’s the typography, a clever photo or a genre specific look, something about the book cover design makes us take our first glance.

Audience, genre, mood, style and distribution method of the book all influence the final book cover design. Ebooks, audio books, printed hard back books, soft covers, picture books, training manuals and more all may require their own type of sizes, images and design.

Book covers can also tie a series or a brand together. Book covers change over decades. Some book covers get a modern facelift to match the newer audience.


If you are reading this blog post, chances are you have a written a book, novel or ebook and need artwork for the cover. Or maybe you are a graphic artist doing some research on how to get into the book cover design industry. Either way, I hope this blog has some useful links and info for you.

Traditionally, it was publishers that would commission the book cover designs for their authors, but as more authors are self-publishing, the need for book cover designers has increased. There are various types of designers. Some can paint something from scratch, some can photoshop and manipulate, some will use stock images, some are great with typography, some that will photograph and orchestrate new images and those that do a little bit of everything.

When looking for a designer, you’ll probably be choosing something based on price and quality. You have the seasoned pros that can ask for anywhere between $500 to thousands of dollars for final artwork. You also have a growing number of freelancers which charge significantly less. Higher pay doesn’t always guarantee a better cover. It’s best to look through their portfolio of work and see how well they communicate with you.

You can google book cover designers. You can hire through freelance sites like Upwork.  Some publishers have their own graphic designers. We even offer book cover design through this site. You can check out some of our work at our portfolio site.


It may be a subject of opinion on what makes a good book cover design. Here are some things that publishers look for.

  • BIG TITLE – Easy to read. Bigger is often better for the different media forms.
  • THUMBNAIL VIEW – Make sure it looks good small.
  • LESS DETAIL – Sometimes less is more. Too much detail and too many specifics lose the overall concept. Having too much detail of a character also may annoy future readers who want to imagine the characters for themselves.
  • BIGGER PICTURE – Does the text and imagery tell a deeper story? Subtext, symbolism.
  • MATCHES MOOD AND BOOK GENRE – People should get a feeling of what to expect in the book. Is it funny, serious, intense, romantic, etc?
  • DOES IT BELONG IN THE STORE- Check out the bookstores, libraries and online stores to see if the cover matches the professionalism of what’s out there.
  • TYPOGRAPHY – Does the book cover have good text placement? Some covers are just text. Some text become an image.
  • MISE EN SCÈNE – In theater, this means the full theme and all the elements. For our purposes, we are asking the question, “Do all the elements go together well?”