Self-Publishing: Book Cover Design Mistakes to Watch Out For – Lauren Adley | Guest Post

There are quite a few things to do before you self-publish a book, and most writers know that this list includes steps like thoroughly checking the manuscript and writing an engaging book description. However, many of them forget an aspect that’s an equally essential part of the process: designing an attractive book cover to represent their work.

When it comes to promoting your writing, you must know that the audience will literally judge your book by its cover. To ensure that your potential readers lean in rather than scroll right past your publication on Amazon or Book Depository, here are seven cover designing mistakes to watch out for.


1.  Too many visual elements

A cover overcrowded with images, colors, or several lines of text is one of the best representations of design gone wrong. Your book must never look confusing or unattractive to your audience. Also, nobody like spoilers: don’t try to include every aspect of your story on a book cover.

Visual elements colliding with one another don’t represent an aesthetical miss alone. A crammed book cover is also an impractical solution that can affect how your book sells online. Book covers are often shown as small thumbnails on bookselling websites, and chances are the visitors will simply scroll away from your novel if they are unable to understand what it’s all about.


2.  The cover doesn’t reflect the genre

This is another common mistake many new writers make. Choosing a picture or illustration that should embellish your book cover isn’t just about good looks – it needs to be a good fit as well. A cover photograph showing a green meadow in the morning in no way suggests that your book is a thriller. Likewise, a gloomy, abandoned hotel doesn’t go well with a chick-lit title.

No matter how much you like the look of it, if your book design misses the mark, it will bring more harm than good.


3.  The title is too small

Some authors like their names and titles large and bold on their book covers, while others prefer them to be less conspicuous. However, there is a fine line between discreet and unreadable, and failing to differentiate one from another can cost you quite a few potential readers.

Assignment writing service author Emma Clarke highlights that font size is a crucial part of your book cover design because the title of your book is your first point of contact with promising readers. If they fail to even notice your book’s name, their attention will fly to some more prominent options, away from your life’s work.


4.  Image is stretched, low-quality, or stolen

A well-designed book cover attracts attention and lures the reader to find out more. A bad-looking one will drive the audience away, and may even cause you some legal trouble.

When choosing a photograph or an illustration for your book cover, never use the ones that are inappropriate in terms of size and availability. A blurred stretched, or pixelated picture on a book cover will never attract anyone to pick it up and give it a chance. On the other hand, taking a copyrighted image without permission may take you to court, rather than on your first book signing event.


5.  Poor choice of font, or too many fonts

Once more, it’s time to put personal preferences aside and make a choice that won’t endanger the hard work you’ve done to get where you are today. Although wedding, futuristic, and other heavily stylized fonts may look appealing at times, they might not be the best choice for your book cover. Typography is tough to crack, so to make sure your choice is fitting, it’s advisable to hire a graphic designer who can make a few appropriate suggestions.


6.  The margins are too tight

Online assignment help publishing experts suggest that one of the best tells of a professionally designed book cover is the size of the margins between the text and the edge of the cover. There must be some breathing room between the two, and, once more, the reasons are both aesthetical and practical.

If your titles stretch from one edge to another, the cover will look noticeably unattractive. In addition, parts of the text on your cover might accidentally get cut off in the trimming process.


7.  Uninspiring, bland design

Designing a book cover is the art of finding the right measure. Be careful, because in your attempts to avoid creating a bombastic, flamboyant cover, you might end up with a dull, dismal solution your readers won’t even pay attention to.

Once again, you should follow the guidelines of your genre. Academic, romance, horror, and sci-fi titles require entirely different approaches in both writing and designing terms. Take some time to research how other authors approached this matter. You can learn a lot from their successes, and from their failures.



One of the most important factors that decide whether your book will sell well has nothing to do with your writing style, the stories you tell, or the characters you bring to life. Although your goal is to captivate the readers with your literary talent, you must be careful about the packaging as well. You’ve put in a lot of hard work into self-publishing your manuscript, so make sure you don’t unwillingly undermine that effort. Consider the tips given above and create a cover design that will give your book the attention it deserves.


Lauren AdleyBIO

Lauren Adley is a writer and editor at Assignment Holic UK, AustralianWritings, and Rush My Essay. She is dedicated to her family, work and friends. She is keen on reading, playing the guitar and traveling. She is interested in educational, marketing and blogging issues. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter and Google+.

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