Cover Research

The cover of your book is arguably the most important piece of creating your book. I believe the statement “Don’t judge a book by its cover is exactly opposite of what happens.” is now a cliché. I’ve read some rendition of that statement on every blog and heard it in every YouTube video on creating your cover that I have read/seen. That said, it is absolutely true.

Your cover is the first thing readers see. It is the thing that get’s them to pick up your book in the first place. It get’s them to turn it over and read the blurb on the back. It may even be the selling point of the book if it is eye catching and intriguing enough.

How do you make sure your cover is something that pulls your readers rather than repels them? The first step is doing your research. Go to the book store, virtual right now due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Once the pandemic allows and you are comfortable with venturing out, go in person and also head to your local library. Take a note book with you. Find the section for the genre you are writing and go through the books. Look at their covers, I mean really look.

Keep notes on what is popular, what you don’t like and what you like. Is there a person on the front. More than one, what is in the background, what colors seem to be the most prominent. Where is the title placed. How big is the Title. How big is the author name. Where is the author’s name placed. Is there something about the way the art is done such as faded backgrounds or metallic colors with some sparkle to them.

Don’t for get to look at the spine and the back as well. The spine is very important because in a physical bookstore, it’s likely the first thing readers see. Does the art wrap all the way around the book. Is the color uniform. What aspect of the art is on the back. Does it interfere with reading the blurb. What else is on the back cover. Publisher’s name. Age range. Quotes from the book or book reviews.

In person research is important because you need to ask yourself these questions: How does the book feel in your hand. Can you feel the cover design. Is it a matte finish or glossy. Is it a hardcover or paperback. Does it have a dust jacket.

I would start with virtual research even when it is safe and you are comfortable (not always the same thing) going to places in person. It is easier to find best sellers virtually. You can search on Amazon for the best sellers in your genre. This is great especially if you plan to publish on Amazon. If you are publishing wide, you will want to look for more extensive best seller lists just to be sure you are all inclusive in your research.

I recommend looking at and taking notes on 15 to 20 top selling books. This should give you a good idea of what is catching readers attention in the genre. Yes some books sell because of the author and the book cover could be bad, but with looking at 15 to 20 books you should be able to weed those ones out.

With the research you have collected, there are a few ways to find a book cover. 1. hire a book cover designer. You can find some on and are the most recommended cites to find this work. Etsy also has book cover designers. Please do your research on designers and get samples of their work before you hire them. Try to find reviews of their work and look on other self publishing author’s websites for recommendations. Make sure they understand the genre you are publishing in. Work closely with them especially if they are a newer designer. You will want PDF and PNG files of the book cover and the Title. You need to use the same font/typeface for the title page as what is on your cover.

Second option: buy a premade book cover. There are a bunch of them out there:,, and Most of these websites with premade covers also offer custom cover designing as well. Looking at these cites can also help in the research.

Third option: design and create your own cover. This is time consuming unless you already have the programs and skills to do it. You can teach yourself to do this if you have hours and hours of time to dedicate to it. This is the last option for a reason. Most people can’t do this well.

If you are creating your own or buying a premade book cover, have other people look at it and critic it. If you have a following on instagram, facebook, or other social media platform ask for feedback or take a poll between two or three designs you are considering.

Happy writing and creating.

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