Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Anatomy of a Book Cover

When I released the cover for my book, Defy (Firstborn Trilogy #1), we all agreed that we tend to judge books by their covers. With that in mind, I wanted to share some tips for authors who might be working on their own cover designs. Then I’d like to reveal the cover for Shift (Firstborn Trilogy Book #2) for those of you who might have missed it!

Book Cover Design Tips:

  1. Keep it simple. Many an author wrongly assumes that she has to include all of the major elements of her book on the cover. It typically ends up being a busy, indecipherable mess. Instead, consider one central person or theme from the book and focus the cover on that. Limit the number of colors used, as well. Simplicity is often beautiful when it comes to book covers!
  2. Use pops of color to draw the eye. You might have noticed that many YA books currently have girls in colorful gowns on the covers. This is trendy for a reason. The gowns and colors really capture the audience for these kinds of books.
  3. Be sure it tells the story. Just because the above theme might be trendy, don’t try to capture readers by using a girl in a gown if your book doesn’t have anything to do with that. Covers can be misleading, and that just frustrates readers. Keep the image(s) you use relevant to your story.
  4. Make smart font choices. Don’t choose fonts (for your titles, your author name, etc.) that might be hard to read on the small version of the cover that appears on book retail sites. Also, don’t use a font that already appears on a million other book covers. You want something distinctive and versatile that will help you build brand recognition.
  5. Know formatting requirements. When listing your books on Amazon, the site recommends using a 1.5 ratio for the cover image. This means, for example, that if your image is 1,000 pixels wide, it should be 1,500 pixels tall. However, this differs from a standard paperback image size. If you’re going to do a paperback version as well as the e-version, either make sure you have the ability to tweak the dimensions yourself, or ask your cover designer if he or she will include both versions in their contract.
These are merely a few tips I’ve picked up along the way. If you’ve got more, please share them! Don’t forget that our own Emma Michaels is a brilliant cover designer, so you can always hit her up to work with you on your books. I know I couldn’t do this without the work of my amazing cover designer, Devan Edwards of Nimbi Design!

And now, I’ll leave you with the cover reveal for Shift, which releases on August 24th. I’d love your thoughts! If you’d like to add Shift to your Goodreads to-read list, you can do so here ( For now, enjoy the big reveal!

Blurb for Shift (Firstborn #2)

Having the ability to shapeshift, Sophia is familiar with change. But even she feels the rising tension in her homeland.

A shadowy male and deadly beast reside in their midst. The births of the newest Kynzesti loom. Hostile Mercesti continue to hunt for the Elder Scroll, and a traumatized female is too afraid to use her abilities to stop them.

Topping off Sophia’s stress is Quincy, the male she’s convinced can’t stand her. She rues the loss of their friendship, but can’t figure out how to move past it. She’ll soon learn, however, that mending that rift bears more significance than she ever imagined.

The search for the Elder Scroll takes on unexpected urgency, and Sophia finds herself in a race across the mainland. To stop the Mercesti led by Eirik, she and her companions must get past their differences and unite against them. If they don’t, Eirik will acquire the immense power he seeks, and two of the beings Sophia loves most will die.

And the new cover for Shift...

What do you think??

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