Considerations when designing your ebook cover

Upon the advice of Sandy Appleyard (sandyappleyard.com), I recently gave my ebook covers a makeover. She advises that as one way to possibly make sales pick up if they’ve been lagging, so I thought I’d give it a try. What did I really have to lose? It’s not like I can’t go back to the old ebook cover if I decide I want to.

I figured it couldn’t hurt to write a blog post outlining the considerations I made when designing this cover, thinking that maybe they could inspire something in someone else as a way to design or improve their own book covers.

I have to say, cover designer is not my forte, and not what I was expecting last year when I decided it was finally time to publish my novels. This cover is far from perfect, but there are a few things I like about it over the old one. Here they are, old one on top and new one on bottom.

CrimsonLeaguepaperbackfront2(2)

So, what do I like about the change?

  • I wanted something that hinted more to the genre: fantasy, in my case. There’s something about the stars there that I thought was nice clue to what the work is about and spoke to magic, wonder, and a sense of adventure. (The forest path, while it indicated setting and tone and themes of the novel quite well, really spoke nothing to the genre at all.)
  • While hinting at genre, I wanted a bit of mystery too. Multiple people have told me that what led them to download/read my novel was the description of it posted on the purchase page on amazon.com. Based on that info, I figure it’s doing what it’s supposed to do, so I want the cover to leave enough mystery in people’s minds to spur them to read the description of what the book’s about.
  • I wanted a design that connected with the title. It had always, always bugged me that the book is titled “The Crimson League” and there was no red on the cover at all! I felt that was just…. wrong, somehow. When a title indicates something visual as strongly as my title does, I wanted the cover to fall into line with that.
  • I wanted to mark “Book I, II, III” of my trilogy on the cover. That wasn’t the case before, but it should be. It’s a great way to easily provide vital information to the prospective reader: this book is part of a series, and this is its place therein.”
  • Personally, I like the retro feel. It reminds of old-school fantasy cover design, things you see on first editions of old fantasy books. That really appealed to me. Like I said, the cover’s not flawless. And eventually I’d like to pay someone to design one, but until then, I think this will work.
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9 responses to “Considerations when designing your ebook cover

  1. Hi Victoria
    very interesting, for i saw the first cover as the more fantasy one, “the long path through the woods” with the hint of danger and magic at every tree or turn. Magical beings just out of sight, but tantalisingly watching, waiting for their moment. i didnt get fantasy/magical from the red version, i got more of a chic lit book for that.
    I agree though about the cover and crimson, perhaps your name could have been in crimson in the first one, in a banner along the bottom. Also agree about Volume 1 of n etc, i am writing book 3 of trilogy and my covers will be loud and proud Volume 1 with series title, then book title below.
    A final word on covers, I self published my first novel in 2003 and designed the cover myself. I was at a writing conference a few months later and one person told me they loved the cover, another said they hated it.
    Horses for courses, ultimately, it is the writer who has to be happiest with it. Good luck
    Keep writing, for you know you have to.
    Andrew Marsh
    check out my blogs
    http://thrillingwriting.wordpress.com/
    http://fendrelstale.wordpress.com/

  2. I love the new one. It is definitely a nice touch to use the color crimson since that’s in the title. I am also sure that the cover doesn’t exist that is universally appreciated.

  3. I like the new cover. I’d rather have them wonder what it’s about, than have them think they know. I think more people are drawn to simple visuals than people think. Big publishers’ covers tend to be simple, one-idea works.

  4. forgingshadows

    I like the new cover a lot, considering the genre of the novel. The first cover is very nice, but reminds me more of literary fiction. Or a Bronte Penguin Classic. Which is far from the worst book cover it could resemble, so good work!

    Quick question – what program do you use to design your covers?

    • Thanks for your input!!! I used myecovermaker.com for the second cover. The first I made through createspace’s free cover creator program that comes with publishing through them, if you want to take advantage of it.

      I actually have a third and professional cover now, designed by Brad Covey. I highly recommend him. His work is wonderful and he is a pleasure to collaborate with.

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