Why Is Book Cover Design Important?

Have I already said that cover design is super important for a book? It’s one of the first things a potential reader sees. Its role is to reflect what the book is about, but also to be attractive enough so a reader approaches it with interest. If your book cover isn’t sparkling some interest, I am afraid that your book will never get a hand on your readers.

Now, I’m not talking about your community of readers. Those readers already love you and they know you’re doing a great job at crafting stories. I’m talking about the potential new readers you may get with your book.

Why is it important to have a good book cover?

A book cover is a marketing tool. It’s actually the first marketing tool you should care about. I can guarantee that if you’re missing something with it, it is going to be reflected in your sales. After all, isn’t it how you choose the books you read? Be honest, we all judge books by their covers, it’s human.

Anatomy of a book cover

The White Raven” by Carrie D. Miller

Front cover:

People tend to be attracted by the illustration/picture first, so make sure yours is catchy enough. Your title, of course, has to pick the curiosity. And finally your name should also be on the cover. The overall front cover should reflect your book and its genre. I would advise you to do some research about what kind of covers are used in the genre you’re writing in, what works and what doesn’t. If you’re self-publishing, you have a say in all decisions, so take advantage of it to get the best cover you can but don’t forget its marketing purpose. It will have to please your readers.

Back cover:

Okay, you caught the eye of a reader, now it’s time to tell him more about the story itself. The blurb is a kind of summary of your story, but it can’t give away the end. It will have to spark even more curiosity, so choose your words carefully. Then comes the author bio, for those who don’t already know you, and some endorsement if you’ve been lucky enough to have your book reviewed by a famous magazine, author or blogger. As for the ISBN, it is, obviously, a mandatory thing to have on your back cover if you’re selling a print version of your book.


If you decided to offer a physical version of your book (hardback and/or paperback), then you might have to take care of the spin. When your book will be presented on the shelves, you want your reader to get all the information she needs to identify it, don’t you? Three simples things have to be displayed: your book’s title, your author name and, if relevant, the publisher’s logo.

Case study: Finding Maxwell

Of course, I can only talk about what I know. And you’ll see that making the cover design for Finding Maxwell was far from easy. But let’s put things in context, shall we? I published Finding Maxwell a couple of years ago now, and I didn’t want to spend too much money on the book cover. I was a freelancer at the time, and any money I could save, well… I saved it. I went on Fiverr to find a designer kind enough to make the book cover I was looking for.

And I’ve learned a lot of things along the way:

  • Fiverr might not be the right place to get a book cover. It’s cheap, yes, but you’ll mostly find generic designs that everyone already has. You have to really look for the right gig and the right designer, it takes time.
  • Briefing a designer is hard and should take more than five minutes.
  • You should put more thought about what you want as a cover, and not expect the designer to know what’s going on in your head.
  • Don’t expect the designer to read your book, so be as precise as possible when explaining what the story is about.

Needless to say that I saw some covers which were completely off. They were not reflecting my book at all and, in the end, I made the cover myself with an image I bought on Shutterstock. It’s not bad, but the book could have had a better cover if I had put more thoughts and money into it.

In summary, you shouldn’t rush any of the steps when you’re self-publishing. Of course, the story is the most important thing and you might not have the money to hire a proper book designer. But every penny invested in your cover design will be worth it.

Anyhow, tell me, what are your favourite book covers and why?
Do not hesitate to tweet me @vdvestelle

Further reading:
Know more about using Fiverr for your book cover with Kindlepreneur