Today, I'd like to share with you a few major cover design mistakes that may be costing you those sweet pennies from every sale. If you are opposed to using a pre-made cover (an affordable option), here's some free advice in basic design. These tips are just as relevant to graphics used for blog posts and advertising.
1. The Stretched Image
I'm sure you've seen at least one cover where the author has taken an attractive image and just stretched it out a little bit to make it fit the cover requirements. Please do not ever do this. Even if it doesn't seem like it's that bad, it's bad. This counts for fonts too. Increase the font size, change the spacing, or choose a different font. Don't stretch it. Instead, choose a larger image and crop.
2. MS Paint
Don't use it. Unless you are a professional artist, your drawing is not going to attract readers. Trust me. Instead, find a nice stock photo and roll with it. Use Adobe's tools, or go with the freeware versions. If you're looking for easy and free, check out Canva. Personally, I use GIMP and Inkscape.
3. Font Choice
One of the most frequent mistakes I see with self-made covers is poor choice in font. I get it. Before jumping into graphic design, I didn't realize how much fonts mattered. Many times it's the one thing that pops out and screams 'amateur' at potential customers with a single glance. They may not know why, but they'll know something's wrong. For this, I suggest research and trial and error. Get a boatload of fonts and see what you like. If the font is too different in style to the other covers in your field, that may be because it suggests a feeling that you aren't going for. What do I mean? Check out these great posts for more:
- DIY Book Covers has a great list of fonts, what they look like, and what genre they work for.
- This post by Knockin' Books has some great examples of what to look for in the text, and what feeling those styles give the reader.
- Find something you like, but have no idea where to get it? Check out WhatTheFont! and take the guesswork out. The website can scan an image for you and tell you what font the artist has used. Neat stuff!
Love this post? Leave me a comment and tell me so. Want to know more about how I design my covers? Check out this post: Author Toolbox--Free Must-Haves for Cover Design