I’ve been researching how to create a book cover. I am planning a travel book series and would like the cover themes to be consistent across several books, yet I don’t want to pay to design individual covers. I want a series template that readers can’t resist (don’t we all?) yet that can be used to express something unique about each book in the series.
Since I want to include my first book, Women of the Way into the series, I can either base the new covers on the existing book, or create an entirely different cover theme for the series.
Although I like the color and feel of my current cover, I dislike the byline—too faint and small, especially for the Ebook thumbnail. The Createspace template I originally used allows me to change only the background and font colors; I cannot change the topography nor the size of the frames. For this reason, I need to design the cover myself, or at least get some images and concepts before passing it off to a designer.
Deciding on my requirements is my first step. So what do I want?
The cover must:
- Capture attention. I want the reader to pick it up or click on the thumbnail.
- Be informative. The back cover needs to provide reasons for the reader to continue looking at the book.
- Reflect the nonfiction travel series genre. I searched the genre in Amazon, and then studied the covers. Most covers sport colorful pictures. Many series names are registered trademarks, so I must consider doing the same. I really liked how easy it was to identify the Moon Handbooks, Waypoint Tour, and Fodor’s covers as a series, but they are more clinical than I liked, too much like a guidebook. I then looked at a Pinterest Board of Camino Books. I found the primary colors, especially the blues with yellow, very eye-catching.
- Create a mood for the book or hint at the underlying current of the narrative. Each book has a different theme that I want to capture on the cover. I hope to do this with image and color. Since I have my own photos, I did not need to search for free images on-line. (I recommend Creative Commons. Be sure to check the “.) Having read that colors can indicate moods and feelings, I looked at the meaning of colors. Before I go further, I must decide if I want to select colors for each book in the series that best represent the theme of that book; or if the series will have an overall color, like the examples above; and if so, how I will combine the colors to reflect the themes. Some of the themes I will be developing are:
- Friendship: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green
- Courage: Red
- Trust: Blue
- Happiness: Orange
- Beauty: Purple, Red
- Hardship: earthy browns
- Adventure: Green
- Tranquility: Blue
- Seriousness: Grey
- Hope: Green
- The thumbnail of the cover must catch the reader’s eye. The writing must be legible, even when tiny.
- The cover theme must be versatile, something I can use to brand my presentations, Web page, business cards, etc.
I have my work cut out for me. I will try to design an attractive cover for the series, and then check its effectiveness with you, my readers. If the results are unattractive, I will hire a graphics designer to make the design more effective. Once I have the series designed, I will work on adapting that design to each book in the series.
- Book Cover Design Tips With Book Cover Designer Anthony Puttee. This is an interview with a basic transcript. I recommend listening to the interview.
- How To Make Your Own Free Book Cover In MS Word
- Beginner’s Guide to Book Cover Design. I especially like the section on how to do it wrong. Seems like I made a wrong choice with my first book cover.
- Color Meanings & Symbolism
- The Science of Colors in Marketing and Web Design
Have you designed your own cover? How effective is it? What tricks did you learn? Please comment.