This blog entry was kindly contributed by Debbie from The Cover Collection. I have used the services of her company for both Gateway of Pardisia and Pieces of Silver and I've been so happy with the service and product that they've provided me. - Rick
One of the most important things an author can do is choose a cover that does their book justice. Here are a few tips that might help, whether designing your own cover or using a designer to create one for you.
DESIGNING YOUR OWN COVER
Whether it's the image or the fonts, everything that goes onto a book cover must be licensed for commercial use. Even down to any textures or effects that you add to the design. If you do a quick search on Google, you'll find hundreds of fonts you can use (always remember to check the license when you've downloaded the font, just to be 100% sure you can use it on your cover).
Always try to match the font style to the genre of your book. It will bring the design together and people will automatically know what to expect when they click on the thumbnail.
If you decide to go with more than one font, we'd say go with a maximum of three (two is better). Any more than that and your design can look a little disjointed.
If your cover is darker, go for a lighter font and vice versa. You want your title/author name to stand out as much as possible.
Some people think that adding as many different image elements as possible to a cover makes it more interesting - it doesn't. It just tends to look overcrowded. You don't need to tell the whole story on the cover.
USING A COVER DESIGNER
It can sometimes be less stressful to let a cover designer create something for you. Many designers also have premade covers you can buy, which generally works out much cheaper.
If you don't know which designer you'd like to work with, check on social media or forums for recommendations. Ask other authors who they've used and what the service was like. Don’t just choose one by what a designer says about themselves, ask the authors. Did they receive a high quality cover? How many draft options did you receive? Was the designer prepared to adjust the cover once complete? How long did the cover take? Email the designer prior to purchasing a cover and discuss your requirements with them. You should then have an idea who you'd prefer to work with.
If you really want something on the cover, but the designer says you shouldn't really use it - trust them. They'll know what will work and what won't on your cover design.
Longer titles might seem great in theory, but from a design point of view you'll be restricting the amount of fonts your designer can use. If the title (or a word in the title) consists of a lot of letters, the fonts used would have to be slimmer, or much smaller! The shorter the word(s) the more fonts you'll have access to for your design.
Some readers prefer to visualise a character themselves rather than see one on the cover, as everyone imagines characters differently. If you’re not sure, it might be worth using a back or side view, as that keeps both the author and the reader happy!
It always helps if you have an idea of how you'd like your cover to look. Although that may sound silly, you'd be amazed at how many people expect the designer to know what they're looking for. Unfortunately, we don't have time to read every book, so as much detail as possible will help us to create a cover you'll be happy with.
If you’d like any further information either on our covers or just need help designing your own, please do contact us at www.thecovercollection.com.